After the celebrated masterpiece This Is Not a Film, this is renowned Iranian director Jafar Panahi’s second film since being banned from filmmaking and sentenced to house arrest—which, clearly, hasn’t stopped him. Taking place in one location, the film is centred on a writer (co-director Kambuzia Partovi) hiding out in a house to keep his dog safe from Islamic authorities on a countrywide purge. Putting up curtains everywhere, the man’s paranoia about being discovered amplifies upon the arrival of a stranger: a woman also seeking discreet shelter. Seemingly a straightforward narrative at first, Closed Curtain is a meditation on the state of exile and seclusion that becomes an elaborate formal game, as Panahi begins to pull the curtain back, both literally and figuratively, revealing new elements (including the man himself!) and nuances. Fiction and reality begin to blend, as the barrier between filmmaker, character and film begins to dissolve…
A heartrending look at what it feels like to be separated from the world you belong to, and a strikingly honest record of one artist’s alienation, Closed Curtain is at once despairing and life-affirming, the film’s brave existence itself being an utterance of freedom, existential and artistic, that inherently counters the oppressive forces that manipulate Panahi’s life.
“The journey is often challenging, but the rewards—heady, emotional, provocative and invigorating—are limitless.”—Keith Uhlich, Time Out New York