𝕎𝕚𝕝𝕝𝕖𝕞 (𝕃𝕖𝕠) 𝕧𝕒𝕟 𝕕𝕖𝕣 ℤ𝕒𝕟𝕕𝕖𝕟’s review published on Letterboxd:
Added to: Masterpieces of the 90’s
Bear with me, I didn't really believe in this film until the very, very last moment. The brilliant freeze-frame that ends this lurid, cryptic film within a film meta-docufiction is one of the best moments in film I've ever seen!
For almost all of the film I saw this as not much more than a lesser attempt at remodeling the ideas of Abbas Kiarostami's Close-Up. I saw what it tried to do with it's main story, it's jumbled way in retelling, revisiting and ultimately dissecting a simple past experience of the director, Mohsen Makhmalbaf, but I didn't see the greater value in it, rather strange considering I've been diving so much deeper in experimental cinema than usual, a place where the edges of cinema are so heavily studied. Maybe I just was too tired to fully keep my head with every little detail of the film (and especially in the second half this can become a serious problem) but for some reason that last frame puts all that the film built up, all of it's different overlapping storylines in perspective, somehow giving a definitive and absolutely non-definitive ending to this overcomplicated test of the limits of cinema.
A simple tale of two man and a woman gets spun out over the course of 20 years (or did it?) and replayed, rewinded to smithereens to eventually pull out the truest question in all of cinema: What is real? Followed, of course, by a million other questions like Was it real to begin with? Where did the fictive parts begin and end? What is reality anyways? Etcetera, etcetera... Case in point is that iff there's anything that this film, made roughly one-hundred years after the birth of cinema tells us, it must be that the limits of film are nowhere to be found. The simplest stories can still turn our heads upside down when they are studied so intensely and get peeled like an onion, layer after layer to search for the ultimate core of what such a simple meeting can bring about.
A wonderful experience that literally (I still can't wrap my head around how this film pulled it off) boils down to one Moment of Innocence, one, single, solid frame of cinema. Cinematic experiences like this only come once in a long time...