Having jumped from festival to festival since its February premiere, Jafar Panahi and Kambuzia Partovi‘s Closed Curtain is now up for an appearance at TIFF in these next few weeks — an occasion that’s of special note, for it’s given us our first in-motion look at the film. While touted, by some, as a successor-of-sorts to last year’s monumental This Is Not a Film, both our rave review and the footage at hand would indicate something different: both a return to the exalted filmmaker’s narrative days — no matter how much Film may have played with the documentary form; not that we need to get into this, now — and something of a mystery, too.

What’s here is, thus, equal parts brief and opaque, but a nonetheless beautiful display of a film we said has “intimacy [that] is matched by density.” As an admirer of both Panahi‘s narrative work and, even more so, the title which made waves over these past two years, Closed Curtain would appear to be a bold next step. Here’s hoping the attention it continues to attract will help change an awful personal situation, too.

Watch the trailer below (via BleedingCool):


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 is still without a U.S. distributor.

Any reactions to this trailer? What are your thoughts on Panahi’s work?

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