3 Faces (2018)

JAFAR PANAHI

Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB

Original title:  Se rokh

, 2018.    , .   Screenplay by Jafar Panahi,  Cinematography by Produced by Jafar Panahi.  Production Design by Costume Design by Leila Naghdi Pari.  Film Editing by , .

Jafar Panahi is about to leave a film set when actress insists on getting in the car with him; she has received a video message from a young woman in a small village who committed suicide on camera after telling the actress her plight.  The girl on the video was accepted into film school but was being prevented from going by her conservative family, then reached out to Jafari for help but, when she didn’t hear back, decided life wasn’t worth living.  Devastated by the message, Jafari insists that she and Panahi find the village and learn more about the girl’s life, investigating the possibility that the video might not even be real and they’re being played for a hoax.  They travel to a desolate Iranian mountain village where they encounter curious but hospitable individuals, all of whom are incredibly excited to see a famous actress suddenly show up in their midst.

Rarely taking place far away from Panahi’s SUV, this continued act of subversion on the director’s part, who has been under a filmmaking ban for nine years by now, has the warmth and generosity of Taxi Tehran while not as profound, but is endlessly watchable thanks to the filmmaker’s special talent for creating situations that feel like they just naturally unfold around him.  The daring move of applying a flavour of light comedy within the narrative framework of a young girl’s possible death is daring, but pans out thanks to the director’s tight hold of seemingly uncontrollable situations.

Cannes Film Festival Award:  Best Screenplay

Toronto International Film Festival:  2018

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