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Criterion Collection: Close-Up [Import]

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Amazon.com: 8 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Assumed identity . . . March 27 2010
By Ronald Scheer - Published on Amazon.com
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.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Good June 21 2012
By Cosmoetica - Published on Amazon.com
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. It will be interesting to see just how high his work can reach, if he was just able to get a bit more to work with. Close-Up is a film any lover of cinema should see, and even those who are vapid, because Hossain Sabzian is likely the best mirror those sorts will ever get.
A masterpiece Sept. 14 2013
By Brandon Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I had the great fortune of watching this film in Film School. We really dissected it. It's a brilliant piece of hybrid documentary/fiction filmmaking.
Brilliant! -- must watch more than once... April 1 2013
By Diana Prechter - Published on Amazon.com
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.
By HAN XIAO - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase