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.
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.
I am deeply annoyed by the people who claim this film is taking it too far. To me, the writer and the woman and the first part of the film as a whole could be characters of a film Panahi could be making if he were able to work. We see the film go on and then along with the director himself, comes reality. They haunt him,sometimes they seem visible to him, sometimes not.They die, but somehow stay alive. Much like him.
"Documentary/Drama"? Thanks for the warning... I think. I would actually add a third 'D' to the mix: Dream. The disjointed narrative is fragmented, redirected, and refracted through the mind of the artist. The sense of claustrophobia is nothing new: this is samizdat cinema, made when a country attempts to control thought and expression. Many artists do, in fact, give up and 'wade into the sea'; others go into exile.
There is something remarkable with how Panahi is able to represent the forms and degrees of oppression within the confined space of his own home. Stretching from himself within the film, his dog (especially with the legal parallels that he portrays), and the meta criticism omni-present throughout. Panahi is accomplishing work on a higher plane of thinking under scrutiny than most people could who are totally free.