Kiarostami's masterpiece is a rich, multi-layered but beautifully forthright film in which Sabzian (playing himself - a movie fanatic - in a story based on fact) pretends to a middle-class family likewise interested in cinema that he is film director Makhmalbaf (who also appears as himself). As the film alternates between scenes of Sabzian's trial for fraud and reconstructions of his encounters with the family and of a journalist's attempts to discover the truth, Kiarostami constructs a complex (but never complicated) series of interwoven narratives to interrogate notions of fiction and documentary, appearance and reality, truth and falsehood. It's enormously intelligent stuff, witty, poignant and thoroughly engrossing, and ends with one of the sharpest, funniest deconstructions of film form ever shot. Absolutely wonderful.
Cast and crew