Abbas Kiarostami, Close-Up, 1990 (still); image: courtesy Janus Films



Sunday, Feb 19, 2017

5:15 p.m.

“Much stranger than fiction, Close-Up recounts the bizarre case of Hosein Sabzian, a frustrated film buff who pretended to be well-known director Mohsen Makhmalbaf. Under the guise of preparing a new project, the impostor became intimate with the Ahankhahs, a well-to-do but naive family. His ruse, however, was soon discovered, and an ambitious magazine reporter characterized Sabzian as a dangerous con man. Kiarostami obtained permission to film Sabzian’s trial and afterwards persuaded all involved (except the journalist) to recreate the events. Poignant, compelling, and frequently humorous, Close-Up…documents the vulnerable nature of the human ego, highlighting every person’s need for recognition and high self-esteem. Its mix of cinéma vérité and reenactment underscores the subjective nature of the “filmed truth.” Moreover, the issues of employment and poverty which emerge at Sabzian’s trial render the film a subtle societal critique. Ironically, Close-Up also fulfills the dreams of both Sabzian and the family he duped — allowing them to be in the movies at last.” — Alissa Simon, San Francisco International Film Festival

“No other film does more to interrogate certain aspects of the documentary form itself.” — Jonathan Rosenbaum, jonathanrosenbaum.net

Film Details

Country: Iran
Languages: Farsi, Azerbaijani
Year: 1990
Running time: 97 min
Format: 35mm

Director: Abbas Kiarostami
Producer: Ali Reza Zarindast
Cinematographer: Ali Reza Zarindast
Editor: Abbas Kiarostami
Print Sources: Janus Films

Films and schedules may be subject to change.

Modern Cinema’s Founding Supporters are Carla Emil and Rich Silverstein. Generous support is provided by Nion T. McEvoy and the Susan Wildberg Morgenstein Fund. Additional support is provided by Becky Draper.