What feels occasionally like a contractual stopgap makes up for it's mostly static camera by way of some great writing (sometimes the things people say, especially the cab driver herself, come off as a modern, jaded Khalil Gibran)...all in all not a bad way to spend an hour and a half, and it's whetted my appetite for more Kiarostami films....
Evidently, this was the precursor to director Jafar Panahi's film "Taxi" (2015). Kiarostami has made the better film of the two, discussing social issues in contemporary Iran, while Panahi's film deals with both social and political issues, with the latter being predominant. The child actor (Amin Maher) and the lead actress (Mania Akbari) are both commendable in their roles. In real life they are mother and son.
some of Kiarostami's earlier films seem to hint at misogyny with the relative absence of female characters or their limited presence seemingly diminished as inconsequential. so here you have an independent woman crafted to be so tremendously conceited, self-destructive, and apathetic who can only empathize when there's an opportunity to be didactic and you have to wonder what the goal was.
This is not a brilliant movie or even particularly clever. What it is, is very well done. It's edited with precision and takes delight in its limitations. Based on "Ten," it's safe to assume Kiarostami had little sympathy for those who needed a bigger budget or even those who feared censors. With enough skill, neither is an impediment to cinematic storytelling.
I kept thinking of Jafar Panahi's "Taxi" which I saw a couple years before getting around to "Ten". I feel Panahi does so much more with a similar style (a film shot almost entirely in a car to illustrate the political and social realities of Iran). Maybe I am biased too because I am not a big fan of movies with static shots.
Breillat is correct to address the film's absence of image & mise en scene--the viewer's relationship to the screen is utterly tranformed by the stylistic limitations--but such a profound statement from one director about another does a disservice to the way such restrictions mythicize every gesture, every touch of light, every movement towards the outside world. Pure thought filtered through cinema; RIP, Kiarostami.
An interesting film that shows a slice of life in Tehran, shot with dash cams completely in a car. So no plot as such. A lot of dialogue that can be tedious at times, especially in the extended conversations with the driver and her son. Worth seeing for the experience.
The fourth star for the minimalism - one car, one camera, two camera angles - well one actually either focused on the driver or focused on the passenger. Back and forth conversations that reveal more in what is not said than in what is. No car chases. No explosions. The human condition considered all within the confines of a single frame. Mania Akbari is radiate. I could have watched her for another 91 minutes easy.