New Movies -
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Old Movies -
Touki Bouki: The Journey of the Hyena
The Strange Affair of Uncle Harry
Recap: 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 , 2005, 2006, 2007 , 2008 , 2009 , 2010 , 2011 , 2012
Close-Up (Abbas Kiarostami) 1990
The setup of these events it terribly convoluted, but it serves Kiarostami’s purpose, since he’s attempting to show us that reality is far more complicated that cinema. The film’s premise becomes a springboard for many philosophical questions regarding the nature of cinema and its responsibility to those who watch it. Certainly, the power of the movies was enough to persuade Ali that he should and could pull off his imitation. The culpability of the press is also called to attention by these events, since the details that Ali gathered in order to impersonate Makhmalbaf were obviously gleaned from the ample media coverage of the director. The glamorous lifestyle that Ali presumed the director led fueled much of his working-class fantasy. Still, there’s no denying that the story being told here is a captivating one, and upon realizing that without the involvement of the journalists that bring it to Kiarostami’s attention, we wouldn’t be able to enjoy it, we almost feel as if we’ve become implicated in the crime.
By the film’s end, every scene feels like a loaded proposition, daring us to feel anything, since we’re obviously not capable of simultaneously understanding all of the angles with which we could examine this case. The film forces us to run a gamut of emotions in each scene. The humorous exchange in which we see a bureaucrat launch into a convoluted explanation that he’s forwarded a requisition to the desk across the room fits snugly against the mixture of pity and disdain that we feel for Ali. The greatest irony of the film is that the star-struck family’s initial outrage at being tricked into thinking they would star in a Makhmalbaf film resulted in an unforeseeable series of events that culminated in the creation of a Kiarostami film that co-stars both them and Makhmalbaf. By the end of Close-Up, even the technical snafus cannot be taken at face value. A microphone that shorts out seems to provide proof that the cinema is unable to capture every nuance of real life. One must wonder if it’s only a fortunate coincidence that the events of the film turned out as they did. That it remains difficult to classify Kiarostami solely as either a great director or a great journalist at the film’s end only enhances the film’s power. In either case, Close-Up is a remarkable achievement, and a potent reminder that no matter what power the cinema, or any art, might contain, it is powerless without the reality that informs it.
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