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Close-Up (1990)

Abolfazl Ahankhah , Mahrokh Ahankhah , Abbas Kiarostami  |  NR |  DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Abolfazl Ahankhah, Mahrokh Ahankhah, Mehrdad Ahankhah, Monoochehr Ahankhah, Haj Ali Reza Ahmadi
  • Directors: Abbas Kiarostami
  • Format: Color, NTSC
  • Language: Farsi
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Facets Video
  • DVD Release Date: March 19, 2002
  • Run Time: 98 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000060MU4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #257,312 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Close-Up" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Facets DVD (Region 1) of a particularly wonderful film. This item is from my personal collection, and disc and complete packaging are in great, almost-new condition. Be advised that there is a more deluxe DVD edition of this film produced by the Criterion Collection, and this is not it. Still, great movie!

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37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "There's nothing about this case that's worth filming." January 21, 2003
By A Customer
Nothing less than a narrative nesting-doll of reality informing illusion that's based on reality that might be illusion, etc. etc. This legendary film from Abbas Kiarostami concerns itself with a true-life case in Iran involving an imposter who -- for no real motive other than a "love for cinema" -- presents himself to a well-to-do Tehran family as the famous Iranian director and Kiarostami colleague Mohsen Makhmalbaf. The movie begins with the apprehension of the imposter from the family's gated residence. It then becomes quite documentary-like: Kiarostami, with back turned toward the camera, interviews the suspect in jail, asks permission of the local bureaucrat assigned to adjudicate the case if the trial may be filmed (to which the bureaucrat replies bemusedly, "There's nothing about this case that's worth filming"), and then finally sits in on the actual trial itself, which is shot in an inferior film stock that would seem to indicate that we're watching the proceedings as they're happening rather than watching an actual movie. This whole "is-it-live-or-is-it-Memorex" feel continues on to the meeting between the actual Makhmalbaf and his imposter. During this scene, you can hear Kiarostami griping to his sound man in the background as the pair exchange hugs. Then the sound starts cutting out as the camera crew follows the pair through Tehran on a motorbike. (Don't get mad at your DVD -- it's on purpose.) All this would seem to tip the scales towards actual documentary, but perhaps Kiarostami is simply having a bit of postmodernist fun with us. The film has a happy resolution, but questions remain: WHY did the imposter pretend he was a famous director? "Love of cinema" doesn't seem to quite cut the mustard as a motive. Read more ›
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
A man on a bus gets mistaken for the famous Iranian filmmaker Mohssen Makhmalbaf, and he pretends to be him for a while, ingratiating himself into the life of a family by speaking of a project he is working on. He's not in it for the money, though he borrows taxi fare and is given food. It's the sense of being someone, someone who matters, someone who these people he has come to care about will look up to. When another Iranian filmmaker hears about the trial for this alleged conman, he asks permission to film it and follows up by reconstructing elements of the case, using the actual perpetrator as his main actor.

I don't want to give away more of the situation, captured here in a unique blend of documentary and fiction. What I do want to give is a personal account of my experience with this film, that I hope will motivate a few to take a look -- and to be patient. The film doesn't work its magic right away -- and in fact the beginning of the film can be somewhat disorienting.

Kiarostami has a way of finding the fantastic in the mundane. Somehow, he sets up his films in such a way that I can find myself for the most part merely interested wondering what it is all about, and then suddenly surprised to find myself overwhelmed, surprised by an emotional response that was not manipulated from me with music but somehow, mysteriously. This happened to me while watching ABC Africa, and even more powerfully during this film. His style, the way he achieves this, can almost be thought of as an anti-style -- I know that may not make a lot of sense, but it would take longer than I have here to make clear what I am thinking when I say this. It seems like he is doing very little, but the effect is (in my experience) magical, unexplainable and overwhelming.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Close-Up July 11, 2007
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This brilliant dramatic re-creation of an unusual case of criminal impersonation examines the conceits of cinema on one hand, but also the state of post-revolutionary Iranian society, where dire poverty and lack of opportunities can crush aspirations, artistic or otherwise. The writer-director, Abbas Kiarostami ("A Taste of Cherry"), read about Sabzian's predicament in a magazine article, decided to film the trial, and then asked everyone involved to play themselves. A fascinating mash-up of reality and artifice, "Close-Up" is a minor miracle of engaged storytelling whose compassionate final minutes will leave an indelible impression.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Humane October 31, 2007
Like other movies by this director, Close-Up moves slowly but somehow develops a quiet momentum that continues after the screen goes dark. I think this is partly due to Kiarostami's sincerity. He feels a genuine interest and affection for his characters, and his movies can give you a powerful sense that yes, their lives are really like that, revealed in repetitions and small struggles.

The New Yorker excerpt quoted above suggests that Close-Up contains a protest against religious authority in Iran. I don't see this as a main theme. There may be some subtle reading on which post revolutionary Iranian society is criticized, but the Islamic judge in the trial appears as a fair minded man and not in the least a zealot. He helps bring about a satisfying resolution. Of all the characters it's the journalist who comes off looking most like a shabby opportunist.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Simple Film... December 9, 2003
Elegant, mystifying, sad, beautful, these are just some of the words and feelings which come to mind having watched Close Up. The mixing of genres; is it fact, is it fiction etc. all leave you wondering afterwards, asking yourself what is reality, what is fiction?
That a movie as deceptively simple as this one has the power to stimulate one's mind in such a profound way is a great tribute to the filmaker. It also goes to show that there is a part of our brains, by-passed by almost all contemporary, Western cinema, which is open to simple stories about humble humanity and it's wayard dreams.
If all this sounds a little bit o.t.t., then watch the movie for yourself, allow it wash over you and I guarantee you will get an itch somewhere deep in your head, the part which actually makes you human.
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