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Shirin (2008)

6.7
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A hundred and fourteen famous Iranian theater and cinema actresses and a French star: mute spectators at a theatrical representation of Khosrow and Shirin, a Persian poem from the twelfth ... See full summary »

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Title: Shirin (2008)

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Cast

Credited cast:
Mahnaz Afshar ...
Woman in audience
Pegah Ahangarani ...
Woman in audience
...
Woman in audience
Kamand Amir Soleymani ...
Woman in audience
Khatereh Asadi ...
Woman in audience
Vishka Asayesh ...
Woman in audience
...
Woman in audience
Ra'na Azadivar ...
Woman in audience
Pantea Bahram ...
Woman in audience
Pouri Baneai ...
Woman in audience
Afsaneh Bayegan ...
Woman in audience
...
Woman in audience
Afsaneh Chehreh Azad ...
Woman in audience
Shaghayegh Dehghan ...
Woman in audience
Sahar Dolatshahi ...
Woman in audience
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Storyline

A hundred and fourteen famous Iranian theater and cinema actresses and a French star: mute spectators at a theatrical representation of Khosrow and Shirin, a Persian poem from the twelfth century, put on stage by Kiarostami. The development of the text -- long a favorite in Persia and the Middle East -- remains invisible to the viewer of the film, the whole story is told by the faces of the women watching the show. Written by Venice Film Festival

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20 January 2010 (France)  »

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a cinema, an audience, a poem.
19 September 2008 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Kiarostami has proved here that one can reach the truth of cinema by the most direct route, to examine the faces of the women members of a film audience while they watch, an unseen to us, film of the great 12th century Persian epic poem, 'Khosrow and Shirin' Kiorstami's slow tracking camera traces the faces of 114 famous Iranian actresses and one famous French actress. Despite the potential for a forensic piece, the work is in fact a poetic study of the feminine face that recognises the emotional as well as intellectual process involved in watching a film. We are caught in a kind of mise en abyme of spectatorship and although we are never given the opportunity to see the film these faces respond to we are, nevertheless, caught in the narrative of the romantic epic, the faces themselves display the richness and complexity of a reading; tears, smiles, quizzical glances, the turning away through lowered lids, all of these responses combine to form a group portrait as symphonic construction. It may sound like watching paint dry but in fact the film is a welcome relief from the kind of action cinema that has become a numbing experience in contemporary cinema. The chance to see beauty is rare in cinema today, here we are allowed time to relish the female face. We might see this film as returning us to the early cinema of Hollywood that rejoiced in the first truly cinematic rhetorical trope, the close-up. In this sense 'Shirin' is a triumphant celebration of cinema itself.


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