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Close-Up

Close-Up

1990
Drama
Documentary
1h 38m
Pretending to be Mohsen Makhmalbaf making his next movie, Ali Sabzian enters a well-to-do family in Teheran. The actual people involved in the incident re-enact the actual events, followed by the footage from the actual trial that took place. (imdb)
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Close-Up

1990
Drama
Documentary
1h 38m
Your probable score
Avg Percentile 76.63% from 1477 total ratings

Ratings & Reviews

(1477)
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Rated 23 Jun 2008
91
90th
I can easily say that Close-Up is one of the most unique and extremely well made films I've ever seen. It didn't hit me as hard as it hit alot of other people, but I can definitely see how well this film was made. Its such an interesting premise. The non-professional actors did an extremely professional job. I was truly touched by the performance of Hossain Sabzian, he really shows us both in words, and just by looking at his face, how strongly cinema impacts those who thrive off it. Excellent.
Rated 16 Mar 2007
89
92nd
An incredibly novel premise: a semi-documentary, including reenactments by all the people involved, of the story of a man who impersonates director Mohsen Makhmalbaf. It's funny and touching and thoroughly engaging. It touches on identity, class, and cinema. When the microphone starts to cut out at the end, I wondered if it was Kiarostami's way of telling us that he, too, was only pretending at being a director, and the facade was breaking down.
Rated 20 Nov 2013
8
97th
an utterly fascinating film that has many layers, even in its title, which can refer both to the lens of the camera and to the detailed look at the psyche of a particular type of person. it is interesting that sabzian, having nominally taken over the personality of makhmalbaf, actually develops his own filmic perspective as a director, with his adopted namesake simply a cover. most cinema lovers and wannabe auteurs should see at least a little bit of themselves in this film.
Rated 13 Apr 2008
95
94th
An unusual and compelling film that will really make you scratch your head. One of the main points of interest here is the production itself. Some scenes in the film consist of real, live footage of the actual events that took place; other scenes are dramatizations, but featuring the actual people involved, "playing" themselves! The centerpiece of the movie is the personality of the impostor Sabzian himself and the way he rationalizes his actions.
Rated 25 Jul 2009
85
95th
I could never have predicted that this concept, which looks potentially smart-alecky on paper, would be so fruitful. It's a touching and fascinating film, one of the most interesting and thought-provoking movies I've seen about cinema itself. Kiarostami devises the reconstruction with great intelligence and sensitivity. It's so ironic how Sabzian, the perpetrator of the fraud, is himself such a naive and suggestible fellow.
Rated 10 Dec 2012
94
87th
I love that the Iranian "Citizen Kane" isn't about a great man of industry, but a poor, slightly nutty cinephile, with dreams that are at once modest and deeply profound. The final scene flawlessly captures the appeal of the movies, at once totally fake and totally true.
Rated 27 Dec 2015
75
59th
I don't know how you could properly rate this film. It is a film that should be a documentary but isn't, about a man who wants to make movies but can't, played by people who shouldn't be able to act but do. I'm pretty sure its genius but at the very least it could never be rivaled.
Rated 07 Dec 2013
83
74th
A well executed mixture of doco footage and dramatisations that piece this narrative together. It also features one of the more interesting court-room scenes (perhaps because it's real) and Sabzian must be a relatable character for all budding film-makers out there -- I felt about him the same way he describes feeling about the boy from The Traveler.
Rated 25 Oct 2013
65
47th
This is a perfect example of meta-cinema, but the problem of such cinema is that they can be boring and dull in terms of content. Kiarostami says that even though a film openly claims that it is based on reality, the audience always assumes a plasticity; and even a movie claims complete fictitiousness the audience assumes a reality in it. In a way that's an ontological essay about cinema. But I think that it'd be better if he had wrote that ideas down instead of making a boring movie.
Rated 23 Aug 2011
97
98th
To those who say post-modernism can have no heart, I say, watch this film.
Rated 13 Jul 2011
25
22nd
What is it about Kiarostami that i always end up finding so boring and dull? I want to like his movies but they always come off as unremarkable (despite what critics i admire claim otherwise). It's not a good thing when i find myself wishing i was listening to Jonathan Rosenbaum's commentary track instead of the actual movie. It seems like there is potential here for interesting commentary on cinematic "truth"/realism here but it never amounts to anything, and the courtroom scenes are too long.
Rated 12 Sep 2010
5
44th
Gets pretty muddled in the middle with way too much boring conversations and a couple of really cringe worthy moments like the pointless aerosol can rolling down the street. Kiarostami even says that he filmed this scene for no reason just because he "felt like it and liked the look of the street." I really hate when directors fall prey to what a film school student would do and lose focus on the story and characters. I did love the last 30 minutes of this, but getting there is somewhat grating.
Rated 19 Nov 2009
93
94th
The strange production is likely the most famous thing about the film, but there's no big deal made about it in the movie. I wouldn't have known what they did until reading about it afterward, it's executed brilliantly. The film itself is about art(cinema specifically), what it means to us and what different people will do in its name. It really forces you to think about your perceptions.
Rated 19 Jul 2008
91
95th
A unique and creative documentary / dramatization that is very interesting and surprisingly fun. The strange production is certainly part of what makes it interesting, but Sabzian is a compelling character whose bizarre logic is somehow understandable.
Rated 09 May 2013
91
98th
Gerçeklik-kurgu ikilemi olan bir karakteri, bu iki kavramın yanına, sinemada gerçeğin temsili, kişilik, varoluş gibi bir çok kavramı katarak öyle bir işliyor ki Kiarostami, pek sevdiğim "çok katmanlı" tanımını defalarca hak eden tam anlamıyla bir başyapıt yaratıyor. Bunca zamandır bekletip, bu akşam izlemediğim için sevindim desem yeridir.
Rated 27 Feb 2007
95
99th
The first of a long and ongoing sequence of truly great films from Abbas Kiarostami. Two additional texts worth reading on this film: first, a discussion by Kiarostami himself available here: http://www.janusfilms.com/closeup/closeup.pdf, and second, Bernard Stiegler’s thoughts on Sabzian and the significance of the film, which can be read here: http://www.parrhesiajournal.org/parrhesia20/parrhesia20_stiegler.pdf
Rated 17 Dec 2012
89
83rd
Having the same real life people casted in the exact same setting to re-enact their own story is just something I still can't wrap my head around. Every scene is so gripping and intense because of this, and the documentary/fiction style it was shot in really adds a unique element to the film. There are some truly emotional moments here as layers of character and perspective unfold. A very interesting character study and one that lingers with you after it's over.
Rated 16 May 2016
98
99th
Art, film, revolution, personas, and truth, all culminating in circumstances and structures, unbeknownst to him, the histrionic Sabzian, to form him and his country. Due to it being multifaceted in its approach, in a way that itself makes commentary on what the approach seeks to document, it gets perplexingly weird. That is, the very best kind of weird.
Rated 06 Jul 2016
96
98th
Every possible thing about this movie is amazing. Some unforgettable, powerful moments and images and sounds - especially towards the end. Cinema fully realized. It's like if Peter Watkins and Jean Luc Godard collaborated on something.
Rated 12 Jun 2020
96
99th
This film is in the great tradition of 'F For Fake' and 'Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One', but is more layered, more self-referential and most importantly more sincere. Not only is humanity looking at itself, but cinema is looking at itself to realise film as pharmakon. It's like inhabiting the mind of a cineaste, in which fantasy becomes dream becomes reality.
Rated 15 Jan 2017
10
97th
A brilliant and deeply insightful exploration of identity and identification, and the often thin line between reality and fiction. Watching it, I was immediately reminded of what Roger Ebert famously once said about movies: It's not what a movie is about, it's how it is about it. Loved, loved, loved this film.
Rated 14 Jul 2011
92
99th
Stunningly original and intriguing, well-crafted, and by the end, very moving. The last third is what really makes the film. If you can relate at all to Sabzian, it's doubly effective. Films about film/making tend to be masturbatory and uninteresting, but this one can't even be put in that category. It exists in an altogether other realm.
Rated 18 Nov 2017
95
99th
We all have our reasons for loving cinema as much as we do. For many, escapism is high on the list and it is no surprise that this can be taken literally as well. Kiarostami's film is many things, but, for me, it explores the importance of the power of escapism and how it causes us to reflect on what makes us an individual. The film is like nothing else I've seen before. A masterpiece.
Rated 24 Jan 2011
68
78th
Story of a dreamer whose obsession for cinema goes beyond the norms of society, told by Kiarostami in an unusual for of a film - some segments are staged and acted, and others are real. It is an artistic film, and doesn't go out of its way to be entertaining or informative. The way Kiarostami sees and portrays Sabzian is great; I felt emphatic to him, but I wish the movie told more about him in more direct way.
Rated 24 Nov 2010
40
97th
"Close Up is still the definitive film-on-film commentary." - Ed Gonzalez
Rated 24 Aug 2020
95
81st
La mejor película iraní de todos los tiempos.
Rated 26 May 2020
70
62nd
I don't care about the meta commentary, but I'm impressed by the acting. The courtroom scenes were much too long and would have been more at home in the theater.
Rated 19 Aug 2018
98
97th
Esse filme é tão monumental na sua estranha forma de narrar e Hossain Sabzian representa o cerne da cinefilia de tal forma que não há como explodir em lágrimas como o "protagonista" desse documentário encenado. Que coisa linda. DVD Obras-primas do Cinema Abbas Kiarostami.
Rated 18 Mar 2024
75
61st
A charming piece of cinema. I'm actually surprised that Hossain Sabzian, the perpetrator who must appear in court, did not follow this documentary into a career in film. He does have a kind of X-factor. It's remarkable how the filmmaker managed to get both victims and the imposter to reenact parts of the troubling events - it seems to bind them together in an act of empathy and forgiveness with a remarkably funny and touching result.
Rated 23 Feb 2020
60
28th
More interesting conceptually than in reality. I don't find Sabzian interesting enough for a character study, and we don't learn much about him anyways. I'd rather see the story as a fictional film, as a version of The Stranger. Or, I think it could have been crafted into a more profound "ars poetica" if Kiarostami had taken more control of the narrative.
Rated 04 Dec 2019
100
95th
Kesinlikle hayatımda izlediğim en güzel filmlerden biri.
Rated 05 Oct 2019
90
75th
It's like some of those great books that, even though you enjoy them genuinely, you have to force yourself a bit to continue. It's demanding, in other words. I would probably appreciate it even more if I could understand Persian and didn't have to read subtitles.
Rated 08 Apr 2019
73
82nd
This is a very interesting but somewhat unsatisfying film.
Rated 27 Nov 2018
83
92nd
Artistically sincere
Rated 26 Sep 2022
89
78th
very unique way of film making. the performances are stunning, especially considering these are not even real actors. there are some really powerful, touching dialogues. sabzian is such an unusual character and performs terrific.
Rated 13 Nov 2020
80
80th
close up is a matryosha doll of truths and lies, constantly yo-yoing between skepticism and plausibility. Sabzian's testimony about his motivations adds a new dimension to the film itself and asks you to consider if he achieved his goal.
Rated 04 Oct 2023
55
39th
As an experiment exploring how to make the border between scripted and unscripted filmmaking seem fluid, this is a success. But for me the mysterious nature of the narrative only peaked my interest a bit and wasn't enough in itself to sustain it throughout.
Rated 02 Feb 2021
4
93rd
Pure cinema. Amazing accomplisment. Kiarostami is the master of emotions.
Rated 07 Oct 2021
91
98th
Apart from being a refreshing docu-fiction, it's a heartbreaking tale of an epic fight of dreams and social values against the harsh reality of modern society. It's brilliant how Kiarostami blends reality into fiction while insightfully exploring the Sabzian's perception of his identity, which is distorted just like the film's reality! A masterpiece with no ifs or buts about it.
Rated 21 Nov 2021
76
40th
abbas reyisin sonraki efsaneleri henuz baslamamıs ara ara darlıyor film full muhabbet ama donemine gore güzel bir konu
Rated 13 Dec 2021
100
0th
One of the best cinematic experiences I've ever had, what a movie, (or should I say Documentary? but yeah who cares? )no words.
Rated 07 Jun 2024
92
93rd
Making History for iranian cinema!!!
Rated 06 Feb 2022
93
97th
“art is a lie, nothing is real” - bo burnham, 2013
Rated 10 May 2022
92
76th
Sabzian is a fantastic protagonist, hard to believe he's real. Of course the payoff motorcycle ride is beautiful.
Rated 13 May 2022
90
79th
'filmi hatırlamıyorum ama hissi hatırlıyorum'. tekrar izlenecek.
Rated 18 Jun 2022
75
57th
Uniquely constructed and produced film about a real life weird story played almost entirely by the real life people that participated in it. Very interesting character study of Hossain Sabzian, a man who pretended to be Iranian filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf to ingratiate himself with a family there for unclear reasons. Extremely human and compelling. A unique experience.
Rated 27 Jun 2022
80
68th
When he becomes Makhmalbaf, he's finally seen by others and Kiarostami in turn sees him by film his testimony and recreating his story.
Rated 11 Mar 2023
80
78th
Quite peculiar, but still oddly gripping. Not knowing the background, I was most interested in the legal system of another country, which is on full display here. A few points off for breaking Chekhov's Law by not having that can do something more later.
Rated 18 Jan 2023
80
69th
'Fake it until you make it' posed as a philosophical riddle that I could only truly understand in the act of pretending to understand it. Conceptually fascinating, also quite effective as a basic story of redemption.
Rated 03 Sep 2022
30
14th
Great idea of a movie that transcends life but ultimately too many truisms didn't make it an enjoyable journey for me.
Rated 05 Feb 2013
90
90th
A statement on the inability of documentaries to capture reality. Still, Close-up is absolutely a documentary, just one that intentionally indulges in the things that prevent many documentaries from capturing the objective facts about things (and becomes all the more fascinating because of this). Features the usual great things about Kiarostami - it's warm, compassionate, brimming with humanity.
Rated 19 Oct 2007
98
95th
One of my alltime favorite films
Rated 21 Oct 2007
98
98th
Blurring the lines between documentary and fiction, Kiarostami offers a film that challenges assumptions about the nature of truth, the flexibility of image, and the importance of recognizing perspective. The film manages to be both intellectually stimulating and heartfelt at once. Sabzian is a fascinating subject for a film, and Kiarostami made the perfect formal choices to highlight both his falsity and his truth. Beautiful stuff.
Rated 01 Mar 2008
91
85th
# 172
Rated 31 Aug 2008
75
57th
Sabzian gives a very good performance (or "performance") in the lead role. He's quite touching.
Rated 19 Dec 2008
90
80th
191
Rated 13 Jan 2010
89
78th
219
Rated 17 Jan 2011
95
98th
Powerful and complex.
Rated 30 Nov 2011
89
78th
#218
Rated 02 Jan 2012
94
99th
Brilliant semi-documentary in which Kiarostami challenges our usual expectations about life and art and produces a warm and prescient human and social commentary.
Rated 15 Aug 2012
91
95th
Excels as both a heartfelt expression of humanity and as a deconstruction of how a movie can distort reality and play you like a fiddle. An amazing, unique film.
Rated 01 Sep 2012
90
92nd
A must watch. The last third is just fantastically powerful and just dripping with humanity. I look forward to other AK films. As a side note, it's interesting to watch this immediately after Double vie de Veronique and see my favorite literary device of the unreliable narrator in film pop up twice in a row, and handled so differently--that's been one of the major points of every comparison between two instances I've ever written about.
Rated 23 Sep 2012
90
98th
who is an actor? a director? what is the movie and what is reality? the story unfolds like a novel by paul auster, handled with the finesse few master like kiarostami. beautiful film making with poetic and mind tickling imagery are the key words to this fine piece of art.
Rated 05 Mar 2018
80
58th
A unique production that aids the delivery of this intriguing story. The blend of documentation and fiction finds a way to bring out the psyche and emotions from Sabzian as we learn about the actual events. I was absorbed in Sabzian's mental as he reasons his actions in court. Kiarostami's ability to bring together the people actually involved and retell it without over-fabricating the film is genius.
Rated 29 May 2013
90
88th
29 Mayis 2013 & ''herkesin bir gerekcesi vardir su hayatta.''
Rated 16 Jul 2013
80
81st
watched: 2013, 2023
Rated 09 Oct 2013
83
75th
82.500
Rated 22 Nov 2013
96
96th
Extraordinary. "Film about film" is one of those concepts that's always teetering on the brink of triteness, but Kiarostami toys so brilliantly with the boundaries of documentary and narrative cinema and the medium itself that Close-Up never approaches it. As someone who's come to think of film viewing as a truly spiritual process, this hits really close to home. I never wanted the aerosol can to stop rolling.
Rated 03 Jan 2014
78
57th
I like it. But it seems, I'm not smart enough to love it.
Rated 19 Nov 2014
66
43rd
I get it even more now, but it still feels slight to me. The self-reflexive nature is almost too forward to actually produce any thought. Kiarostami wants the audience to fill the other half of his films with their imagination but the discourse here is handed to us but it lacks anything else. I feel like the opening gives us an interesting idea about the privilege of information, but nothing becomes of it. Rosenbaum, himself, calls it a "game" which seems kind of, I don't know, stupid?
Rated 16 Mar 2015
100
99th
It's got the aesthetic of those arabic movies that my mom's side of the family like to watch with Adel Emam/Abdel-Halim Hafez in them, but in another form, so my life at 20 culminated to this point. This masterpiece HASN'T desensitized Kiarostami's other movies for me, thank god, which makes it even better.
Rated 09 Apr 2015
90
80th
Utterly fascinating and often astoundingly brilliant, this film is a wonderful examination of the artifice of cinema and of life as a whole, with Sabzian being one of the most compelling protagonists ever. Kiarostami's approach to the material - essentially, a documentary in a fictional form - is genius.
Rated 07 Jul 2016
88
92nd
Blurs the lines between documentary and fiction and raises questions about truthfulness and the issue of performance in social interactions. Between the lines, this subdued film with an emotional finale offers intriguing insights into modern Iranian society.
Rated 08 Jul 2016
88
96th
One of the most refreshing and exciting movies I've seen in a long time, because it is ridiculously unique.
Rated 03 Oct 2016
93
91st
What an interesting film; it took me by surprise, completely unexpectedly, having deliberately avoided reading about it before entering the cinema. It blurs the boundaries between fact and fabrication, making the audience question, who is playing whom - and why indeed is this happening. Meta-film! The more I think about Close-Up, the more exciting it gets in my mind, in a humble, modest, exceptionally beautiful way. Definitely rewatching it sometime soon.
Rated 17 Jan 2017
82
83rd
The pace feels slow but the film's direction is done expertly.

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