alr

Close-Up
(Nama-ye nazdik)

Screening on Film
Directed by Abbas Kiarostami.
Iran, 1990, 35mm, color, 100 min.
Farsi with English subtitles.

A young man aboard a crowded Tehran bus, Ali Sabzian, introduces himself to a middle-aged woman as Mohsen Makhmalbaf (celebrated director of The Cyclist, Salaam Cinema, and Gabbeh). On the pretext of scouting locations for a film project, he enters intimately into the life of her family. Deeply suspicious of the stranger, the father investigates the guest and, ultimately, the con artist is exposed and arrested. At this stage, Abbas Kiarostami and his film crew enter the story to film the impostor’s actual trial. The events preceding the young man’s arrest have been reconstructed, using the real-life participants. Kiarostami captures the narrative through the contrasting perspectives of a journalist covering the arrest, the deceived family members, and the unstoppable Sabzian. What emerges gradually in Close-Up is a narrative of continual Escher-like turns and a brilliant exploration of the nature of cinematic truth and illusion.

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