Directed by Jafar Panahi
Best Script, 2013 Berlin International Film Festival
Official Selection, 2013 Toronto International Film Festival
Dissident. Banned from making films. Still under house arrest. Jafar Panahi remains one of Iran’s most influential auteurs, a sociopolitical voice whose urgency and compulsion produce thrilling works even behind the shuttered doors of his home. Two years ago, Panahi smuggled his iPhone work, This is Not a Film, to Cannes via flash drive… in a cake. With CLOSED CURTAIN, Panahi and co-director/actor Kambuzia Partovi dare to produce a psychological feature with an astonishing trajectory, filmed entirely inside his home by the Caspian Sea.
The conditions of Panahi’s covert filmmaking are subject and metaphor for CLOSED CURTAIN. His real-world involuntary place of exile is inverted into a place his main character never wants to leave. A screenwriter flees to a villa to safeguard his dog Boy, who under Iranian law has become illegal. Heavy curtains throughout the house block prying eyes. A mysterious man and suicidal woman abruptly intrude and refuse to leave. Midway, Panahi appears as himself wandering the house.
There’s a protracted scene where Panahi leaves his home. It’s an impossible fantasy and we all know it – as is the exterior world communicated entirely through audio, heard but never seen. CLOSED CURTAIN turns audience awareness into a destabilizing force, an unsettling of the ground which makes for a fascinatingly uncomfortable viewing experience as multiple drives and undertones shift beneath our feet. CLOSED CURTAIN is a deeply reflective film from a filmmaker struggling emotionally with his captivity, and a ferocious social allegory, as it arrives brutally at an endpoint we never see coming. –Christina Ree
Co-presented by: Persian Culture Center