Abbas Kiarostami

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Certified Copy [copie Conforme] Review

Like Before Sunrise, this film follows two people as they roam through a setting that's foreign to both of them. But since this is an Italian-French film by an Iranian filmmaker, it's also oddly playful and provocative.

In Tuscany, author James Miller (Shimell) finds that his latest book, Certified Copy, is more acclaimed in Italy than back home in England. A fan, Elle (Binoche), buys the book to her friends while her son (Moore) teases her that she's in love with the author. In her shop full of antiques (and copies), she meets James and the two head off for a day of visiting museums and roaming through an Italian village. And as they talk, they invent their own history as a couple.

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Certified Copy Trailer

Certified Copy is set in the picturesque surroundings of Tuscany. When a lady who owns an art gallery attends a lecture by renowned English writer James Miller on the value of original art compared to that of a copy we are lead to believe she immediately feels a connection with the speaker. When the pair meet up after his talk they decide to go on a trip around the city and into the countryside visiting some remarkable places.

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Crimson Gold Review

Opening with a single take of a jewel heist gone wrong, Crimson Gold is the furthest from what we've come to expect from a genre that's become about machismo and futile tough-talk. The shot lingers on a doorway, where a crowd gathers listening to the off-camera shop owner held at gunpoint by Hussein (Hussein Emadeddin). Hussein drifts back and forth in front of the camera: a big, lethargic, sleepy-eyed outsider. It ends with the shop owner drilled dead and Hussein shooting himself in the head. Violence begets violence, and the crowd (and, by extension, the audience) watches on with a mixture of helplessness and curiosity.

From there, Crimson Gold tracks back in time showing Hussein's life beforehand, and the steps that led up to this moment of violence. Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi (working from a script by his mentor, Abbas Kiarostami) sets up a ticking time-bomb premise, then shows a series of everyday events charged with social unrest. Hussein is shown as a harmless looking pizza deliveryman, a fat man on a motorcycle whose shell-shocked acquiescence blends into the paranoid working class neighborhoods of Tehran (routinely patrolled by corrupt cops) and the wealthy uptown penthouses he delivers to.

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A Taste Of Cherry Review

As far as Iranian films about a man looking for someone to bury his body after he kills himself goes, A Taste of Cherry (Iranian title Ta'm e guilass) is a pretty good entry into the genre. While it's interminably slow and I still haven't quite figured out why they went with the copout ending, I can't say it's not an interesting film. Who'd a thunk? Ultimately, the movie is more of a simple allegory on a man's life and less of a study on the Iranian way of life -- which is probably a good thing. Fascinating work from the prolific Abbas Kiarostami.

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Ten Review

Experimental film? Confessional documentary? Fragmented narrative? Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami has created something closer to a poem with Ten, his latest step in a career turn that grows ever closer to abstract minimalism. Photographed on video almost entirely from within a car that travels through Tehran, Ten is pared down to two camera positions (one facing the driver, the other lingering unblinkingly on the passenger often for minutes at a time).

Kiarostami essentially traps us in a sardine-can automobile listening to candid talks between a young woman driver (Mania Akbari) and her varying companions: a prostitute, an old woman, a sister who has fallen in love with the wrong guy (a fairly conventional subplot), and mostly her fresh mouthed son played by the delightful Amin Maher, whose scream of, "I like shouting!" clears the air of an otherwise low-key conversation film.

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