Oppression has transformed Panahi’s art. Under the pressure of circumstances, he has turned from a classicist into a modernist, while at the same time transforming the very codes and tones of his frame-breaking aesthetic. He puts his own life into his film as an existential act of self-assertion against his effacement by the regime. Panahi turns the kind of reflexive cinema that, in the United States, would risk critical dismissal as narcissistic into a furious act of political defiance.
October 13, 2015