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Close-Up (1990)Close-Up (1990)

Close-Up (1990)

An ingenious docufiction classic and a passionate examination of storytelling and cinema

Crime, Documentary, Drama

best
THE VERY BEST

9.0

movie

Iran

Azerbaijani, Persian

1990

Abbas Kiarostami

Abbas Kiarostami, Hossain Farazmand, Hossain Sabzian

98 min

Synopsis

This fiction-documentary hybrid uses a sensational real-life event—the arrest of a young man on charges that he fraudulently impersonated the well-known filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf—as the basis for a stunning, multilayered investigation into movies, identity, artistic creation, and existence, in which the real people from the case play themselves.

Our Take

9.0
Igor Fishman

The apex of Abbas Kiarostami’s monumental filmography, Close-Up is a testament to the late directors’ ingenuity and humanism. Kiarostami documents the real-life trial of a man who impersonated fellow Iranian filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf, and ingratiated himself to a family believing him to be the real deal. The courtroom drama and interviews are fascinating enough, but Kiarostami takes it one step further by having everyone involved reenact the events as they happened.

The result is an unparalleled piece of filmmaking that blurs the boundaries between documentary and narrative while posing vital questions about the exclusivity of cinema and the storytelling process. Despite its sophisticated constructions, Kiarostami’s direction is lucid and direct as it builds to a passionate and unforgettable conclusion.

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