Repertory Picks

Abbas Kiarostami in Chicago

This week, the University of Chicago’s Doc Films kicks off a two-month-long Abbas Kiarostami series, starting with the Iranian director’s 1990 masterwork Close-up. Taken from the real-life story of Hossain Sabzian, a young man put on trial in Tehran in the 1980s for impersonating the filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Kiarostami’s film turns this event into an emotional and poetic examination of art and identity. Deftly amalgamating documentary and fiction, Kiarostami cast the people involved in the case to play themselves—including Sabzian and the family he duped into believing he was Makhmalbaf—allowing them to relive these emotional moments from their own lives. The result is a uniquely fascinating and moving work, one of Kiarostami’s most internationally lauded films. You can see Close-up this Monday on 35 mm, and in the meantime, here’s a powerful clip from a supplement on our release of the film, in which Sabzian shares how profoundly cinema has affected his life.

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