image from the film Close-Up

Image from the film CLOSE-UP

One day, while riding a bus, a young man tells a woman that he’s the famous Iranian director Mohsen Makhmalbaf. Delighted, the woman and her family take him into their home, and he promises to cast their son in his next film. Within a week, though, he’s exposed as an impostor and arrested.

That’s when Abbas Kiarostami and his camera crews began filming this complex hybrid of documentary and drama, a film which seeks to reconstruct the psychological states of the impostor (who claims that he only wanted to feel respected for once in his life), the family, and, finally, Makhmalbaf himself. From footage of the trial that’s shot like a feature film to reenacted flashbacks that feel like documentary, Kiarostami undoes our expectations about film genres while telling a very human tale.

“Witty, poignant, and thoroughly engrossing.” (Time Out)

In Persian & Azerbaijani.