Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Azadeh Zangeneh, Maryam Keyhan, Feyzolah Ghashgai,
No one knows better than Mohsen Makhmalbaf that Iranians are movie mad, so when he placed a casting call for one hundred actors for a new film, he expected a crowd; what he got was a crush—five thousand people. After genially announcing, “You are both the subject and the actors in the film,” he begins auditions. What unfolds is a parade of individuals who, for love of cinema, are by turns brash, crafty, shy, touchingly open, unwittingly hilarious. From would-be Paul Newmans to women who are intellectual rebels under their chadors, this is very much about “casting.” Makhmalbaf plays the film director as judge, tease, and actor. A brilliant exposé of the film that is in the hearts of a people, and the people that are the heart of cinema, this is experimental filmmaking in every sense, yet what we feel most is the director’s controlling hand—precisely the paradox Makhmalbaf is exploring.