Excuse what sounds like hyperbole when I say, with nothing but the utmost sincerity, that there will be no release this season more important than Closed Curtain, Jafar Panahi‘s spiritual successor to 2012’s made-and-transported-in-secret This Is Not a Film. While abandoning the documentary approach so essential to that picture’s fabric, our rave review, posted last year, indicates it circles (ahem) back to the self-reflexive territory mined in 1997’s The Mirror — fitting for what’s “simultaneously a cry for help and a zealous statement that, given his current living situation, filmmaking is the only thing Panahi has left.”

It’s finally receiving a limited stateside release, courtesy of Variance Films, and there is now a trailer to advertise the occasion. As a surprisingly bouncy (yet frustration-driven) piece of marketing, it does an effective bit of selling — first on the bizarre circumstances by which its creator is bound, then, more traditionally, through the gorgeous imagery composed with co-director Kambuzia Partovi. (A quote from this site’s linked-to review can’t hurt, either, if we do say so ourselves.) Based on everything we’ve seen and heard up to this point, it seems Closed Curtain cannot be ignored.

Watch the trailer right below:



They are both on the run: the man with the dog he isn’t allowed to own because Islamic law deems it to be unclean, and the young woman who took part in an illicit party on the shores of the Caspian Sea. They barricade themselves into a secluded villa with curtained windows and eye each other suspiciously. Why has he shaved his head? How does she know he is being followed by the police? They are both now prisoners in a house without a view in the midst of a hostile environment. The voices of police can be heard in the distance, but so too can the calming sound of the sea. One time they look at the night sky full of stars before again withdrawing behind their protective walls.

Are we looking at outlaws, in all senses of the word? Or are the man and the young woman merely phantoms, figments of the imagination of a filmmaker who is no longer allowed to work? The director enters the scene and the curtains are pulled open. Reality reinstates itself, but fiction closes in on it again and again. An absurd situation: two characters from a screenplay, both searching for and observing their director.

Closed Curtain begins its limited U.S. release on July 9.

Are you encouraged by the notices on Panahi and Partovi’s picture?

No more articles