(out of 5)
One of the smartest and most emotionally moving films in the Kiarostami canon, this incredible mixture of documentary and dramatic recreation hits depths that will linger with you for days. Its narrative is inspired by the real event of a down on his luck man who allowed himself to be mistaken for successful filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf, becoming close with a wealthy family after promising to make them key figures in his forthcoming project. When he is found out and arrested, the court case that follows shows both a humorous look at the near nonsense of celebrity culture and where it can take us, but also takes us to the places that human compassion and understanding can go. Some of the footage is actually the real situation, other moments are recreated with the real figures involved; it’s not difficult to figure out which is which, but it also does not matter in the least if your guess is wrong. The whole thing moves smoothly through the experience and features moments of incredible poignancy.
Directed by Abbas Kiarostami
Screenplay by Abbas Kiarostami
Cinematography by Ali Reza Zarrindast
Produced by Ali Reza Zarrin
Film Editing by Abbas Kiarostami
The Criterion Collection