|Directed by||Abbas Kiarostami|
|Produced by||Ali Reza Zarrin|
|Written by||Abbas Kiarostami|
|Cinematography||Ali Reza Zarrindast|
|Distributed by||Celluloid Dreams|
|Running time||100 min.|
Close-Up (Persian: نمای نزدیک, Nema-ye Nazdik) (1990) is a film directed by Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami, a docufiction. The film tells the story of the real-life trial of a man who impersonated film-maker Mohsen Makhmalbaf, conning a family into believing they would star in his new film. It features the people involved, acting as themselves. A film about human identity, it helped to increase recognition of Kiarostami in the West. In the 2012 Sight & Sound poll, it was voted by critics onto "The Top 50 Greatest Films of All Time" list.
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Hossain Sabzian is a film lover and huge fan of popular Iranian director Mohsen Makhmalbaf (director of Gabbeh and The Cyclist). Sabzian is riding the bus one day reading a copy of the novel The Cyclist when he meets Mrs. Ahankhah, a fan of the film. Sabzian tells her that he is Makhmalbaf, the author of the book and film. She's a bit surprised that a famous director is riding public transportation, but Sabzian explains that this is how he finds his subjects for film and that art must spring from life. Posing as Makhmalbaf, Sabzian visits the Ahankhah family several times over the next couple of weeks. He flatters them by saying he wants to use their house for his next film and their sons as his actors. He even obtains a substantial amount of money from them, ostensibly to prepare for the film. Mr. Ahankhah has his suspicions though, especially when a magazine photo shows a younger darker-haired Makhmalbaf. He invites an ambitious journalist friend (Hossain Farazmand) over, who confirms that Sabzian is indeed an impostor. The police come to arrest Sabzian, while Farazmand takes several pictures for his upcoming article: "Bogus Makhmalbaf Arrested." Kiarostami intersperses these scenes throughout the film, which does not progress chronologically. They are re-enactments.
- Hossain Sabzian as Himself
- Mohsen Makhmalbaf as Himself
- Abbas Kiarostami as Himself
- Abolfazl Ahankhah as Himself
- Mehrdad Ahankhah as Himself
- Monoochehr Ahankhah as Himself
- Mahrokh Ahankhah as Herself
- Haj Ali Reza Ahmadi as Himself, the Judge
- Nayer Mohseni Zonoozi as Herself
- Ahmad Reza Moayed Mohseni as Himself, a family friend
- Hossain Farazmand as Himself, a reporter
- Hooshang Shamaei as Himself, a Taxi Driver
- Mohammad Ali Barrati as Himself, a Soldier
- Davood Goodarzi as Himself, a Sergeant
- Hassan Komaili as Himself, a Court Recorder
- Davood Mohabbat as Himself, a Court Recorder
Close-Up is based on real events that occurred in Northern Tehran in the late 1980s. Kiarostami first heard about Sabzian in 1989 after reading about the incident in an article in the Iranian magazine Sorush by journalist Hassan Farazmand. Kiarostami immediately suspended work on the film project that he was in pre-production of and began making a documentary on Sabzian. Kiarostami was allowed to film Sabzian's trial and also got Sabzian, the Ahankhahs and Farazmand to agree to participate in the film and to re-enact incidents from the past. Kiarostami also arranged for Mohsen Makhmalbaf to meet Sabzian and help facilitate forgiveness between Sabzian and the Ahankhahs.
This film was named the best Iranian film ever made by Iranian magazine Film International. It is ranked No. 42 in British Film Institute's The Top 50 Greatest Films of All Time. New York Times film critic Stephen Holden called the film brilliant and that its "radically drab cinema-verite style that helps blur any difference between what is real and what is reconstructed." Los Angeles Times critic Dennis Lim called the film eloquent and direct and that it provided "a window into the psyche of a complicated man and into the social and cultural reality of Iran."
Marcus Söderlund's 2007 music video for Swedish duo The Tough Alliance's "A New Chance" pays homage to Kiarostami's film with an almost shot-for-shot reproduction of a scene following two characters on a motorcycle.
- 1990 Montréal Festival of New Cinema: Quebec Film Critics Award
- 1992 Istanbul International Film Festival: FIPRESCI Prize
- "The Top 50 Greatest Films of All Time". Sight & Sound. British Film Institute. 1 August 2012. Retrieved 10 August 2012.
- "Close-up: Prison and Escape". www.criterion.com. June 22, 2010. Retrieved November 18, 2012.
- Holden, Stephen, "Close Up (1990) FILM REVIEW; The Pathos Of Deceit By a Victim Of Longing." The New York Times, December 31, 1999, Accessed on November 17, 2012.
- Lim, Dennis, "A Second Look: Abbas Kiarostami's 'Close-Up'." The Los Angeles Times, June 9, 2010, Accessed on November 17, 2012.
- Close-Up at the Internet Movie Database
- An 'Islamic' reading of Kiarostami's Close-Up
- Close-Up at the Arts & Faith Top100 Spiritually Significant Films list
- Slant magazine article
- Combustible Celluloid review
- Interview to The Guardian, Thursday 28 April 2005