In Abbas Kiarostami’s masterful exploration of the nature of truth and cinematic illusion, a young man introduces himself as celebrated director Mohsen Makhmalbaf, and enters intimately into the life of a family under the pretext that he’s scouting locations for a new film project. Deeply suspicious, the father investigates the stranger, leading to the con man’s exposure and arrest. At this stage, Kiarostami and his real-life film crew enter the story to film the imposter’s trial. Events preceding the young man’s arrest are dramatized and reconstructed, but with the real people “playing” themselves. Close-up has been widely hailed as one of Kiarostami’s crowning achievements and one of the greatest films of the 1990s.

“This is perhaps the film in which Kiarostami’s distortion of the principles of fiction and reality reaches its apogee, resulting in his most upsetting film. At the same time, it is a work of rare humanity and invention.” —BB