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Shirin (2008)

6.8
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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)

Shirin (2008) on IMDb 6.8/10

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Drama

Plot unknown.

Director: Abbas Kiarostami
Stars: Juliette Binoche, William Shimell, Adrian Moore
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Cast

Credited cast:
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Pegah Ahangarani ...
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Kamand Amir Soleymani ...
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Khatereh Asadi ...
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Vishka Asayesh ...
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Ra'na Azadivar ...
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Pantea Bahram ...
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Pouri Baneai ...
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Afsaneh Bayegan ...
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Afsaneh Chehreh Azad ...
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Shaghayegh Dehghan
Sahar Dolatshahi ...
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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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User Reviews

 
Shirin is not your typical movie and you are most likely going to be quite surprised by it.

The background story is an ancient Persian tragic romance that involves the Queen to be of Armenia, Shirin and the King of (neo)-Persia Khosrow. However, this is not the story we see. The movie is filmed in a theater and we see the faces of women watching the romance unfold on screen.

A very interesting outlook on cinema, narratives and emotions altogether, if one thing for sure it is that Shirin is not your typical movie and you are most likely going to be quite surprised by it. Although all of the audience are part of the Iranian cinema industry (with the exception of the renowned French actress Juliette Binoche), there is no particular focus on anyone and the film seems to jump from face to face in accordance to the emotions depicted.

It is quite interesting to see the differences, for example when someone cries during a scene, others might bite their finger or play with their hair. It reflects back at the spectator who might at the time do the exact same and a certain bond can or can not be formed. There are all sorts of reactions, the shock, the fear are both displayed and experienced differently. Some will, for example in a scene which most likely involves a battle, close their eyes, put their hand on their forehead or become very still. In addition to the biting fingers, some women also readjust their hijab and leaving us wondering if and why watching those scenes disturbs them so.

There were men in the audience and one could wonder why no shots focused on them. I wondered about this myself and it puzzled me, though perhaps it may be that the story being told is a warning to women about love. Also, the title is Shirin, not Shirin and Khosrow, which I guess would imply that the focus is on the part of the woman in the tragedy.

I have to admit that I would probably have enjoyed seeing the film that was being shown more than the expressions of the audience. Of course, it was quite an experience and an exposure to a vast palette of emotions, but I feel emotions are such a personal thing that they might be better enjoyed at the first degree, when they are still raw. I can easily assume that this would be very different from a viewer to another and one can relate more to faces describing an emotion than a situation.

I liked: A different outlook on movies. Womanly, in a way, as I wouldn't quite call it a feminist film. Background historical tale.

I disliked : Feels a little like watching a recycled movie at times, digested by others. Really puzzling at times it is quite impossible to understand what goes on on the screen, maybe it is intended that way, but it did bother me.

64/100 A very particular film, it felt like going to a theatrical performance of an old Greek tragedy and standing on the scene watching others watch it unfold. It feels really artsy.


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