Close-Up – Abbas Kiarostami

There have been a veritable few characters in the medium of film who have simultaneously fashioned themselves in undeniably important manners and surpassed even the significance of the films in which they are bound. Perhaps the most obvious example is Charles Foster Kane, a character who managed to blur the boundaries of their own imaginings and reality. However, with Close-Up comes another such character: Hossein Sabzian.

What Kiarostami has done in Close-Up is something that will undoubtedly linger long in the memory. Using the real non-professionals who make up this quite real, yet mundane case, he recreates the scenario using mostly false documentary as testament to what he considers to be one of the underlying, yet significant ideas of living, the ability to dream.

In many ways the film entirely revolves around this thought, although no doubt others will argue its cultural and political significance as well. Obviously there are multiple factors to approach with any Kiarostami piece, but there is no doubt that the film is built in order to fervently describe to the viewer that regardless of background and other constraints, creating your own world through imagination is something that cannot be limited. Sabzian is a device in many ways, for he lives up to the promise by Kiarostami that despite all the abhorrence and delinquency that society would judge you by, you are entirely free from any boxed in, quantitative measure when you allow yourself to drift from reality and into pastures new.

Genuine passion is infused into this film, direct from Kiarostami himself. He realises that he can carve and recreate a scenario that acts as a double mirror. Whereas one normally views a film as a form of reflection of reality, the director has pointed the mirror back towards the audience and forced us into an entirely new direction with regards to how we view the outcome and character of the defendant. A marvellous experience, Close-Up is incomparable, for it is entirely unique, yet unquestionably timeless.

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