• Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami, one of the most important cinematic figures of the past thirty years, has been in the news recently: his latest, Certified Copy, earned Juliette Binoche the best actress award at Cannes last month. And Close-up, the film that first catapulted Kiarostami into the consciousness of the international film community, is now available in Criterion DVD and Blu-ray special editions and is getting some attention itself. In a review in the Los Angeles Times, critic Dennis Lim looks into the film’s fascinating interplay between fiction and reality, which he compares with that of Certified Copy. The latter film is, he writes, “yet another exploration of one of Kiarostami’s favorite themes: the power of a common illusion, which is to say of cinema itself . . . Kiarostami’s most complete—and most intricate—examination of this theme remains his 1990 film Close-up.

    Lim continues: “Included on several critics’ lists of the best films of the nineties (including Susan Sontag’s), Close-up is perhaps the emblematic work of the so-called Iranian New Wave, summing up its methods and preoccupations and also bringing together two of its key figures, Kiarostami and Mohsen Makhmalbaf (the director of A Moment of Innocence).”

    Also: Michael Atkinson at Movieline—“Close-up takes questions about movies and makes them feel like questions of life, death, and meaning”—and Ed Gonzalez at Slant—“Call it what you will (documentary, mockumentary, self-fulfilling prophecy), Close-up is still the definitive film-on-film commentary.”

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