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7.2
/10
487 Ratings

Shirin

Directed by Abbas Kiarostami
Iran, 2008
Avant-Garde, Drama
  • Persian
  • English

Synopsis

A hundred and fourteen famous Iranian actresses and a French star (Juliette Binoche) are the audience at a performance of a famous 12th century Persian poem. The performance remains off camera; the real story is told by the faces and reactions of the women…

Our take

The final film in Kiarostami’s experimental video phase, Shirin is the story of Iran’s social oppression of women told purely through powerful reaction shots of famous actors as they watch an unseen performance. Includes Juliette Binoche, who would later star in Kiarostami’s Certified Copy.

Shirin Directed by Abbas Kiarostami
The chorus of cinephilic love silently performed by every single actress onscreen creates moments of singular, devastating unity—between the women and the screen, the women themselves, and the women and the audience. Whether that feeling holds when the lights go up is another question.
July 29, 2019
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By recording this soundtrack after shooting the close-ups, Kiarostami creates a provocation/game in the vein of the “conversations” in TASTE OF CHERRY and THE WIND WILL CARRY US that were shot one character at a time. As in all his work, the mystery of the present moment takes precedence over cause and resolution.
May 13, 2016
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When the audience becomes more alert, we are signaled to expect conflict or drama, though the nature of it is not always divulged. Frequently, Kiarostami gives viewers only enough to taunt them; the in-film audience reveals nothing but that there is something to be revealed. By denying film’s most important attribute—the visual—Shirin underscores the ability of imagery to create nuanced meaning.
September 19, 2014
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