They are both on the run: the man with the dog he isn’t allowed to own because Islamic law deems it to be unclean, and the young woman who took part in an illicit party on the shores of the Caspian Sea…
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Starts and ends perfectly, with one extraordinary bit of business in the middle. The problem is an old one: w/ allegory, one always risks saying very important things in a way that is silly. I like dogs enough, but I wanted to kick that dog in the face. First half is not good, second half is actually quite good.
Closed Curtain is equal parts defiance and despair. Like many Iranian films since that country’s “new wave” in the ‘80s and ‘90s, Closed Curtain is full of contradictions, yet it's also closer to Pirandello or Beckett than the cinematic metafictions made famous by Panahi’s peers.
FNC '13 Panahi's real life house arrest and ban from filmmaking have not stilted his artistic expression as evidenced here with his latest work. A scripted film begins but is shortly abandoned replaced by Panahi himself and the ghosts that haunt him both real and imagined. Underneath the obvious is satire, futility and anger.
Panahi's follow-up to This is Not a Film is more scripted, which means it's less fluid, and the games it plays with reality more explicit. But it's also much more melancholy—not a mischievous act of artistic creation triumphing over adversity, but a work left unfinished when the creator loses hope. So as someone who found This is Not a Film to be a revelation, it left me devastated. 4 out of 5 stars.