Editor's Note: We can't all make it to the Toronto International Film Festival (which is too bad, since it's where some of the best films of the next year will be shown). But CT has the next best thing: daily updates during the Festival from our critic Ken Morefield. Stay tuned for the next week for capsule reviews and reflections on some of the world's most important movies.
Closed Curtain (Pardé), directed by Jafar Panahi
Here's my confession: I've always found Panahi's films to be a lot of work. They have a deliberate pacing and (by necessity of late) narrow focus that give one ample time to really contemplate the images on screen. He is extremely talented, a true master of world cinema, but I get how those of us raised on fast-paced, American action movies might get restless.
I've wondered, too, whether some in America might like Panahi's story—Iranian director under house arrest smuggling his last film to Cannes on a zip drive—as much as the films themselves. So while I was prepared to respect and like Closed Curtain, I was still surprised by how much the film drew me in. For those who might see it, I suggest staying away from too many full reviews. Even the TIFF catalog gives away a major turn the story takes in the second half.
Viewers unfamiliar with Panahi's work might be better off starting with Offside, which is more accessible. And definitely read up on Panahi's current house arrest and watch This is Not a Film before watching Closed Curtain. While the latter can stand on its own, it works best as a companion piece to and commentary on the former film.
On deck: The Last of the Unjust; Mission Congo
Kenneth R. Morefield, is an Associate Professor of English at Campbell University. He is the editor of Faith and Spirituality in Masters of World Cinema, Volumes I & II, and the founder of 1More Film Blog.
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