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Close-Up (1990)

“Close-Up” is a 1990 Iranian docufiction (a documentary that includes fictional elements) film on a real story of a fraud case. Written, directed and edited by Abbas Kiarostami. 100 minutes.

Kiarostami has an interest in a magazine article written by a reporter named Hossain Farazmand. According to the article, a jobless man named Hossain Sabzian was arrested on charges of defrauding the Ahankhahs, a middle-class family in Northern Tehran, by impersonating film director Mohsen Makhmalbaf. Kiarostami visits Sabzian in prison, conducts an interview with the Ahankhahs, and shoots Sabzian’s trial.

The film consists of documentary parts, including the black-and-white footage of the trial, and dramatic re-enactment parts in which the people involved in the case, including Sabzian, Farazmand and the Ahankhahs, played themselves. As a result, it became a strange film with a mixture of fiction and reality.

In this incident, Sabzian misled the Ahankhah family into believing that he would shoot his new film in their house, using their sons as actors. It is interesting that both the suspect and the victims were film lovers, and the fraud was based on the interdependent relationship between Sabzian, who wanted to be beloved as a film director, and the second son of the Ahankhah family, who wanted to do film-related work.

The last sequence, in which Sabzian, who was released from prison, faces the real Mohsen Makhmalbaf, is impressive.

Scene from "Close-Up"