6.7/10
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Shirin (2008)

Not Rated | | Drama | 18 January 2012 (Iran)
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 »

Director:

Abbas Kiarostami

Writer:

Farideh Golbou
Reviews
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Mahnaz Afshar ... Woman in audience
Pegah Ahangarani ... Woman in audience
Taraneh Alidoosti ... Woman in audience
Kamand Amir Soleymani Kamand Amir Soleymani ... Woman in audience
Khatereh Asadi Khatereh Asadi ... Woman in audience
Vishka Asayesh ... Woman in audience
Darya Ashoori ... Woman in audience
Ra'na Azadivar Ra'na Azadivar ... Woman in audience
Pantea Bahram ... Woman in audience
Pouri Baneai ... Woman in audience
Afsaneh Bayegan ... Woman in audience
Shirin Bina ... Woman in audience
Juliette Binoche ... Woman in Audience
Afsaneh Chehreh Azad Afsaneh Chehreh Azad ... Woman in audience
Shaghayegh Dehghan Shaghayegh Dehghan ... 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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Plot Keywords:

cinema | asians | distaff | theater | women | See All (9) »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The director stated that, during the filming process, he had no idea what film they were watching, and settled on the Khosrow and Shirin myth only after shooting had concluded. See more »

User Reviews

 
A frustrating but also endearing piece of difficult simplicity
4 October 2008 | by MaxBorg89See all my reviews

Filmmakers like David Lynch or early Darren Aronofsky (Pi) have been branded as experimental, extreme, uncommercial. Okay, so their work is occasionally difficult, but at least they know how to reach out to the audience. Abbas Kiarostami's Shirin, on the other hand, gives a new definition to the adjective "experimental", its style being so radical no marketing campaign in the world would be able to endorse it outside a film festival like Venice (which is where I saw the film).

Kiarostami, always a festival favorite, has truly gone where no man's ever been before with his adaptation of a classic Persian story from the twelfth century. The predictably sad tale revolves around a woman, Shirin, and her being coveted by two different men. A yarn as old as humanity, most will say. What can the director do to make it fresh and original?

The answer is of the most audacious kind: instead of doing a straightforward movie, Kiarostami chose to film a stage version of the story, with a twist - we never actually see what happens on the stage. The whole 90-minute bulk of the film consists of a series of close-ups of over a hundred Iranian women (plus Juliette Binoche in a three-shot cameo) who are watching the play. All the action takes place off-camera, with voices and sounds allowing us to imagine what we should be looking at.

With such an unconventional approach, Shirin is very simple and at the same time quite difficult. Few, if any, average moviegoers will choose it over something more traditional, and those who do will almost certainly find it boring. That's a pity, because the extreme style does serve a point, although it isn't entirely clear at first. The key to understanding the picture lies in focusing only on the actresses' faces: the minute one stops paying attention to the soundtrack (I was helped in that by the fact that the subtitles were faulty and didn't show up until 40 seconds after the lines had been spoken), it becomes easier to appreciate the simple beauty of Kiarostami's choice and feel a kind of empathy with those women, as if they were the real protagonists (and in a way, they are).

So yes, Shirin is perhaps the most uncommercial film that will ever have been made, but since when does that translate as "unwatchable"? It's an acquired taste, for sure, but after the initial wave of frustration it might be possible to feel a more positive emotion kick in.


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Details

Country:

Iran

Language:

Persian

Release Date:

18 January 2012 (Iran) See more »

Also Known As:

Shirin See more »

Filming Locations:

Tehran, Iran

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Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$26,302
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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