Film 101: Close-Up
1990 | Drama | Persian with English subtitles | Dir. Abbas Kiarostami
This fiction-documentary hybrid uses a sensational real-life event–the arrest of a young man on charges that he fraudulently impersonated the 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.
In this classic of world cinema, a cinephile pretends to be well-known Iranian director Mohsen Makhmalbaf and is eventually caught. The film made Kiarostami’s reputation in the West. We’ll talk about the boundary between the real and the reenacted, the complexities of “playing yourself” onscreen, and “world cinema” culture.
About Film 101: Behind the Scenes:
One of cinema’s great subjects is filmmaking itself. That might seem narcissistic, but behind-the-scenes films are a great way to figure out how movies work. In these five films, we’ll examine some of the great “movie-movies” of all time. We’ll consider both how these films work and how these moviemakers think they work. We’ll pay special attention to the star-making process, and to the question of how film thinks about its media “rivals” like radio and television.