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Panahi’s Closed Curtain finally gets a commercial release

It’s as if Panahi is physically incapable of setting aside a camera.
It’s as if Panahi is physically incapable of setting aside a camera.

Closed Curtain arrives with more than its share of baggage. Do yourself a favor and spend a few moments reading up on filmmaker Jafar Panahi’s plight before taking in his movie. The Iranian government has placed the master director under house arrest for six years — with an additional 20-year ban on participating in any part of the filmmaking process — on the grounds that he freely pursued artistic expression.

Panahi gingerly plots the groundwork for Curtain’s first half with a three-minute-long opening take reminiscent of a similar establishing shot from his Crimson Gold. Kambuzia Partovi, the film’s co-director, stars as a writer who, along with his dog, Boy, practices his craft at Panahi’s beach house while the director is ironically out of town. His first act is to cloak all the windows to prevent outsiders from looking in.

Amid a mirrored crazy quilt of framed posters from movies past, the curtain lifts and Panahi appears suddenly and unexpectedly halfway through the film. His arrival is the most dazzling in-camera special effect of the year. With it comes there is a noticeable shift in tone, as everything that follows plays like serrated bites of a surreal fever dream.

Movie

Closed Curtain <em>(Parde)</em> *****

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<em>Closed Curtain</em> arrives with more than its share of baggage. Do yourself a favor and spend a few moments reading up on filmmaker Jafar Panahi’s plight before taking in his movie. The Iranian government has placed the master director under house arrest for six years — with an additional 20-year ban on participating in any part of the filmmaking process — on the grounds that he freely pursued artistic expression. Panahi can’t stop making movies. It’s as if he’s physically incapable of setting aside a camera. Any camera! <em>Closed Curtain</em> follows <em>This is Not a Film</em> as the second self-reflective movie-within-a-movie the director has produced while in exile, and what he achieves with a cell phone and consumer-grade video equipment will awe and inspire.

Find showtimes

Panahi can’t stop making movies. It’s as if he’s physically incapable of setting aside a camera. Any camera! Closed Curtain follows This Is Not a Film as the second self-reflective movie-within-a-movie the director has produced while in exile, and what he achieves with a cell phone and consumer-grade video equipment will awe and inspire.

The film screened as part of last year’s San Diego Asian Film Festival. Halfway through I sensed it was destined to top my ten best list. The local first-run art houses treated it like an escapee from a leper colony. All hope of a commercial release appeared lost until now. Please show your appreciation for the Media Arts Center’s Digital Gym by helping to sell out every show.

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It’s as if Panahi is physically incapable of setting aside a camera.
It’s as if Panahi is physically incapable of setting aside a camera.

Closed Curtain arrives with more than its share of baggage. Do yourself a favor and spend a few moments reading up on filmmaker Jafar Panahi’s plight before taking in his movie. The Iranian government has placed the master director under house arrest for six years — with an additional 20-year ban on participating in any part of the filmmaking process — on the grounds that he freely pursued artistic expression.

Panahi gingerly plots the groundwork for Curtain’s first half with a three-minute-long opening take reminiscent of a similar establishing shot from his Crimson Gold. Kambuzia Partovi, the film’s co-director, stars as a writer who, along with his dog, Boy, practices his craft at Panahi’s beach house while the director is ironically out of town. His first act is to cloak all the windows to prevent outsiders from looking in.

Amid a mirrored crazy quilt of framed posters from movies past, the curtain lifts and Panahi appears suddenly and unexpectedly halfway through the film. His arrival is the most dazzling in-camera special effect of the year. With it comes there is a noticeable shift in tone, as everything that follows plays like serrated bites of a surreal fever dream.

Movie

Closed Curtain <em>(Parde)</em> *****

thumbnail

<em>Closed Curtain</em> arrives with more than its share of baggage. Do yourself a favor and spend a few moments reading up on filmmaker Jafar Panahi’s plight before taking in his movie. The Iranian government has placed the master director under house arrest for six years — with an additional 20-year ban on participating in any part of the filmmaking process — on the grounds that he freely pursued artistic expression. Panahi can’t stop making movies. It’s as if he’s physically incapable of setting aside a camera. Any camera! <em>Closed Curtain</em> follows <em>This is Not a Film</em> as the second self-reflective movie-within-a-movie the director has produced while in exile, and what he achieves with a cell phone and consumer-grade video equipment will awe and inspire.

Find showtimes

Panahi can’t stop making movies. It’s as if he’s physically incapable of setting aside a camera. Any camera! Closed Curtain follows This Is Not a Film as the second self-reflective movie-within-a-movie the director has produced while in exile, and what he achieves with a cell phone and consumer-grade video equipment will awe and inspire.

The film screened as part of last year’s San Diego Asian Film Festival. Halfway through I sensed it was destined to top my ten best list. The local first-run art houses treated it like an escapee from a leper colony. All hope of a commercial release appeared lost until now. Please show your appreciation for the Media Arts Center’s Digital Gym by helping to sell out every show.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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