The recent death of Abbas Kiarostami (1940-2016), one of our greatest filmmakers, was, and will continue to be, a huge loss to world film culture at large. Close-Up, a towering masterpiece within a body of work that was never less than consistently beguiling and narratively adventurous, is perhaps Kiarostami’s best-known film and one whose focus on the impact of humanist cinema on ordinary lives remains vitally resonant today. The film focuses on the travails of Sabzian, a cinephile and fan of the Iranian director Mohsen Makhmalbaf—who Sabzian chooses to impersonate, ingratiating himself with an average family, promising to make a film about them. As Sabzian’s tale slowly unravels through a mix of documentary and re-enactment—depicted by the real people and depicting real events, thus blurring the fact/fiction divide—his (and perhaps our) intense love for and relationship with cinema shines through ever brighter. Featuring one of the most exhilarating, beautiful, and empathetic endings in film history, “with this sublime, culminating gesture, Close-Up hands it off to the audience to continue the elusive hunt for truth.”—Patrick Harrison, Artforum. In Persian with English subtitles.
Appears in: Wordstock: Film to Page
Other Films by Abbas Kiarostami
Winner of the Palme d’Or at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival and celebrated as the critical rival of his own 1994 film THROUGH THE OLIVE TREES, Abbas Kiarostami’s TASTE OF CHERRY follows a middle-aged, middle class man—possibly cut from the same cloth as Kiarostami himself—quietly resolved to some desperate purpose. As he criss-crosses the rural …