One of the world’s great cinematic artists, Jafar Panahi has been carefully crafting self-reflexive works about artistic, personal, and political freedom for the past three decades, despite his oppression at the hands of the Iranian government. Now, as the international film community vehemently denounces his summer 2022 arrest and continued imprisonment for his vocal support of a fellow artist’s independence, Panahi has gifted us all with a new virtuosic sleight-of-hand.

Completed shortly before his imprisonment in July 2022, Jafar Panahi plays a fictionalized version of himself, who has relocated to a rural border town in Iran to remotely direct a new film in nearby Turkey while weaving together two parallel love stories in which the lovers struggle with hidden and unavoidable obstacles: the force of superstitions and the mechanics of power.

In Farsi with English subtitles. Director: Jafar Panahi (Iran 2022) 107 min.

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