Lost in the Movies: Sight & Sound #9 Close-Up (LOST IN THE MOVIES podcast #58)

Sight & Sound #9 Close-Up (LOST IN THE MOVIES podcast #58)

For the third week in a row (and the last time, although two more entries remain) I'm covering a film I'd never seen before as part of my Sight & Sound podcast miniseries. Abbas Kiarostami's Close-Up (1990) mixes fly-on-the-wall documentary, manipulative "reality" filmmaking, and re-creation in its depiction of the humble Hossain Sabzian, a cinephile who ingratiates himself with the affluent, cultured Ahankhah family by posing as famed film director Mahmoud Makhmalbaf. Arrested and put on trial for this con, he offers unusual defenses - some perhaps suggested by Kiarostami (who shows up to film the court proceedings and becomes part of the process himself). And amazingly, both the defendant and the family pushing for his prosecution agree to play themselves for Kiarostami's camera, re-imagining their own fateful encounters. Like the two films I discussed previously - Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (with guest Ashley Brandt) and Beau Travail - this is a highly unusual art film pushing the boundaries of cinematic storytelling. No wonder Close-Up placed slightly higher on the directors' list than the critics'; in narrative, theme, and self-conscious approach, this is a filmmaker's film.

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& Directors' Top 100 (Close-Up at #9)

Close-Up: Prison and Escape by Godfrey Cheshire (The Criterion Collection)


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(Although completed the night before, I forgot to schedule this cross-post until it was 10 minutes late - nonetheless, 8am remains my normal publication time unless there's more than one post in a day.)

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