Pretending to be Mohsen Makhmalbaf making his next movie, Hossain Sabzian enters the home of a well-to-do family in Tehran, promising it a prominent part in his next movie. The actual ... See full summary »
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The whole village knows that Mashti Hassan loves his cow to death. One day he goes to the Tehran. His cow dies. The villagers are afraid of what might happen once Hassan finds out his cow is dead. What will happen when he finds out?
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
My experience with Iranian film is pretty superficial having only seen a handful, but none have disappointed me. I saw Kiarostami's early film Where Does The Friend Live? and was completely blown away. I then saw Saalam Cinema by Iran's other giant Mohsen Makhmalbaf - and then I realised just how important this country's output has been.
Ten did nothing to diminish this view, and I'll try not to repeat much of what's already been said here. I saw an Iranian person on this site claim that there was too much lost in the translation from Farsi to English. This is always the case with translation, but I am quite sure Ten gets away with it. I recently saw Ingmar Bergman's Saraband and if you think language being stilted ruins a movie then I am sure seeing that film will shatter the view. The single thing that destroys it in both cases is the incredible power of the acting - the truth lies in their facial expression. I am quite sure 9 out of 10 people asked without context would swear blind Ten was a documentary.
In the western world overrun by "reality" TV, its significance is lost on some, but if you take the time to realise that these people are actually acting - and more than likely doing it for the first time - thats where the power lies. Try taking this film, put it in America and put Hollywood A-Listers in the car and see where it goes. Basically, how you could call both what they do and what happens in this film acting is opened to debate. This is true of the majority of Iranian output.
Ten would be significant for these reasons alone, but when you take into account how much insight you gain into the life of a woman in there who tries to say no to male domination and to "love herself" it really comes into its own. This is the case of much of this countries output - and what sets is far apart from other countries. What we learn ultimately is this struggle, though perhaps more explicit in Iran, is a struggle felt by all women in the world. It's a film which in that way unites rather than divides which in light of Iran's current status in global affairs is what probably what makes it one of the more important Cinema's in the world.
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