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Close-Up (The Criterion Collection)

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Editorial Reviews

Internationally revered Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami (Taste of Cherry, Ten) has created some of the most inventive and transcendent cinema of the past thirty years, and CLOSE-UP is his most radical, brilliant work. This fiction-documentary hybrid uses a sensational real-life event--the arrest of a young man on charges that he fraudulently impersonated well-known filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf--as the basis for a stunning, multilayered investigation into movies, identity, artistic creation, and existence, in which the real people from the case play themselves. With its universal themes and fascinating narrative knots, CLOSE-UP continues to resonate with viewers around the world.


Special Features

  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer
  • Audio commentary by Mehrnaz Saeed-Vafa and Jonathan Rosenbaum
  • The Traveler, a notable early feature by director Abbas Kiarostami
  • "Close-up" Long Shot, a 45 min documentary on Hossein Sabzian
  • New video interview with Kiarostami
  • A Walk with Kiarostami, a 32 minute documentary portrait of the director
  • New and improved English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film scholar Godfrey Cheshire

  • Product Details

    • Actors: Mohsen Makhmalbaf
    • Directors: Abbas Kiarostami
    • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled
    • Language: Farsi
    • Subtitles: English
    • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
    • Number of discs: 2
    • Rated: Unrated
    • Studio: IMAGE ENTERTAINMENT
    • DVD Release Date: June 22, 2010
    • Run Time: 98 minutes
    • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
    • ASIN: B003D63G5E
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #67,536 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
    • Learn more about "Close-Up (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews

    8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Ronald Scheer on March 27, 2010
    Format: DVD
    Shot in 40 days, using courtroom footage and reenactments with people playing themselves, this "new wave" film by Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami is an absorbing journey into the nature of identity. What does an ordinary man become when he is assumed to be someone famous? The answer can be poignant, as it is in this film, and surprisingly complex.

    Moved by director Mohsen Makhmalbaf's film "The Cyclist," a divorced and unemployed printer's assistant pretends for a moment to a fellow bus passenger that he is the director himself. Suddenly becoming the object of respect and admiration, he allows himself to be drawn into a ruse involving an entire family, who believe that he wants to make a movie about them.

    Legally, he admits in court, he is guilty of fraud. But morally, he argues, he has not done and never intended any harm. He has the heart and soul of an artist, which the limited circumstances of his life have never permitted him to be. Respected and admired, taken seriously maybe for the first time in his life, he is lifted out of his suffering. How this is all played out before the cameras makes for a fascinating study of art, imagination, and self. This film is both wise and touching and a worthy addition to the Criterion collection.
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    Format: DVD
    I will not spoil the movie or give any details about the plot of this wonderful Iranian film.
    I will speak however of the concept and in the abstract.
    While the movie touches on the crushed dreams of the poor ordinary people, and the suffocating hopes of the unemployed youth, it does so in a personal, emotional and psychological way rather than a breaching social / political way.
    The movie is realistic in its use of the semi-documentary camera, and in its portraying the different forms of human suffering and human remorse, sadness and a multitude of other emotions. However, it leaves us with a very realistic ending, where the poor remain poor, the remorse -for acting out their simple dreams- remains a remorse that demands punishment, and where the only people who can fight social injustices, only manage to secure reduced punishment.
    This very realistic and true-to-life ending, while very consistent with the movie's atmosphere, ripped my heart apart.
    It seems that cinema under dictatorships, is not only a fine art, but a very cunningly clever way of pointing out our faults as humans and as societies, while avoiding the wrath of the dictator. This movies lets the dictator and his censors think that it is a nice way to vent people's anger, at the same time, it will let the people who have no zeal left in them, think that it is a nice piece of art and cinema. In my opinion however, for those of us who still have the anguish, the zeal, and the anger, the movie is either a wake up call, or a proposed suicide note!
    Good art defines people in no ambiguous terms.
    This movie is good art.
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    1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Cosmoetica on June 21, 2012
    Format: DVD
    Although this film was made almost two decades ago, there is an odd feeling one gets while watching Sabzuian, for he looks very much like Iran's current wacko President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, although he is antipodal from that man in nature and demeanor. Not that this was apparent at the time, wgen Sabzian had his moment in the sun, and the President was a nobody, but it emphasizes just how human a character Sabzian is. Sabzian, incidentally, is easily the best 'actor' in the film; the others (especially the rich family members, seem amateurs, which adds to the 'realism' as well as highlighting the dissonance between the real and near real. Closeup occupies an odd spot in a pantheon of films that includes the whole of Michael Moore's quasi-documentaries, as well as Orson Welles' brilliant F For Fake. Yet, this film feels 'realer,' and all the credit must go to Kiarostami for, technically, the film is shot very simply and plainly- no fancy shots nor editing by cinematographer Ali Reza Zarrin-Dast. Just the facts, and its what Kiarostami includes and excludes that makes this film, rather than breaks it. And, in a case of what may be 'poetic justice,' the film worshipping Sabzian actually does become the star of his own film- not one he made- as he dreamt of doing, but one which was made about him and his dream's destruction.

    Ultimately, the film plays out like one of those old nested folk dolls within a folk doll, within a folk doll, etc. in that films led to a real life situation which led to another real life experience which led to a film. It is not quite a great film, but far closer to it than one might conceive such a bare bones film, with such a simple premise, could archive. And all the credit for this must go to Kiarostami- a man whose art clearly is a synergy of lesser things.
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    Format: DVD Verified Purchase
    And this edition from the Criterion Collection is exceptionally good with restored footage, descriptive booklet and bonus material including a second film, The Traveler.
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    Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
    ABBAS IS ALWAYS A MASTER AT CATCHING HUMAN SPIRITS. CLOSE-UP IS REALLY ORDINARY, BUT THERE ARE ALWAYS SOME THINGS THAT WILL CATCH YOU AT SOME MOENTS WHILE WATCHING.
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