Close-Up

A newspaper article caught Abbas Kiarostami's eye: an unemployed young film buff had wormed his way into the home and hearts of a well-to-do family by impersonating the well-known director Mohsen Makhmalbaf. From this story Kiarostami made an offbeat film about cinema, the swindle and the dream. He enters the story cinema verité–style, recreating events leading up to the impostor's exposure and arrest, then following the actual court proceedings. In droll reenactments by obliging real-life protagonists, and in its pathetic hero, the film at times plays like Woody Allen's Take the Money and Run (“Let him have his lunch!” the mother says to the arresting gendarmes). Certainly, Hossein Sabzian's accusers attribute to him a craftiness he doesn't possess. His failing is a naiveté that is shared by many: Close-Up is a very moving and surprising film about anomie and the creative responses to it.

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