When a young girl becomes lost in the hustle and bustle of Tehran, her journey turns into a dazzling exercise on the nature of film itself. In this ingenious and daringly original feature, ...
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In a secluded house by the sea with the curtains shut, a screenwriter hides from the world with only his dog as company. The tranquility is abruptly broken one night by the arrival of a ... See full summary »
It's been months since Jafar Panahi, stuck in jail, has been awaiting a verdict by the appeals court. By depicting a day in his life, Panahi and Mojtaba Mirtahmasb try to portray the deprivations looming in contemporary Iranian cinema.
Mehrollah is a 14-year-old boy who is forced to find a job to support his family after his father dies. He travels to the southern parts of Iran, looking for work. Upon his return to his hometown, he notices certain changes in his family.
When a young girl becomes lost in the hustle and bustle of Tehran, her journey turns into a dazzling exercise on the nature of film itself. In this ingenious and daringly original feature, world renowned director Jafar Panahi (The White Balloon, Crimson gold) has wrapped a blunt political critique inside the layers of a deceptively simple film.Written by
[from video jacket]
This is a film about a girl going home. Apparently her mother failed to pick our little heroine up, and the feisty second grader sets out to find her way through the asphalt jungle all by herself. Well, there's more to it of course. It's the asphalt jungle of Tehran and the film was directed by Jafar Panahi, one of the innovative film makers of the Iranian New Wave. Not that his latest works are allowed to be shown in his home country, mind you. Sentenced to a six-year jail term in 2010 and banned from directing he nevertheless defiantly made an iPhone production called "This Is Not a Film" about his situation and managed to smuggle it out of Iran and tell the world.
The Iranian situation as such is already portrayed firsthand in Panahi's early 1997 film. A representative of the next generation, a child, in the center, we witness its abandonment by the adults. We eavesdrop on them complaining, but not really listening, observe the gender segregation on public transport (albeit through an innocent perspective in between as the missing link), but in a sea of scarves, uniform looks and the all encompassing everyday turmoil one can barely get a glimpse of something one could call "individuality"... In the words of Panahi: Everyone is wearing a mask, plays a role. Thanks to the stark realism present in Iranian movies we become part of the life and the hustle and bustle therein, get sucked in by following the odyssey through a child's eye. And we'll reach a point in the film where a clever twist cranks it all even up a notch. Thus a very real situation turns even more real and it results in a powerful reflection with a double meaning, within the film and outside of it. As in his preceding picture "The White Balloon", also centering on a cast of children, the tone in Panahi's "The Mirror" is light, and the film is entertaining throughout, yet layered and thought-provoking. There's someone who stands up to find a way, lost, but determined, wandering around in need for directions. But there's a fundamental difference between directions and direction, as the viewer might notice. No coincidence either that this someone we're talking about is a girl, the focus of some of Panahi's other works. Or let's say it that way: This is not a film... about a girl going home.
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