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Ten, the latest film by Iranian master filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami, focuses on ten conversations between a female driver in Tehran and the passengers in her car. Her exchanges with her young son, a jilted bride, a prostitute, a women on her way to prayer and others, shed light on the lives and emotions of these women whose voices are seldom heard. Written by
With Ten, Kiarostami pushed very far the boundaries of his 'no-plot' approach. Even an illusory plot is no more in this movie. There is a video camera mounted within a car. A woman is driving throughout the streets of Tehran, taking occasional passengers, always women (with one exception: her son). Free discussions start every time, about this and that: all take place in the car, no crew is there, no director, only the driver - woman and the passenger - woman. The approach that was taken firstly in making ABC Africa is used here brilliantly: hand-held camera to free the movie of all cinematic restrictions and to ensure the interactive participation of interprets (non-professionals, like in all his works).
Nevertheless the spontaneity has inherent limits. The director is not there, but he chooses each new personage and before each sequence he gives general instructions about what is to be discussed. The flow of discussion is subtly controlled by the woman who is driving (who is the only professional interpret, Mania Akbari; in real life she is working in the movie industry, and like the personage in the movie she is divorced; her child plays his own role).
Anyway, each sequence is no more a scene miming reality: it is pure reality. It happens in this movie what happened in the contemporary art: like Warhol and Rauschenberg and all the others who renounced of creating images to represent reality, taking real objects instead, to create art, here in Ten, Kiarostami was able to get this great mirage: he took reality from the street and transformed it into art.
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