A young man introduces himself as Mohsen Makhmalbaf, among the most celebrated directors of 1990s Iranian cinema, and enters intimately into the life of a family, and enters intimately into the life of a family under the pretext that he’s scouting locations for a new film project. Deeply suspicious of the stranger, the father investigates his houseguest, 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 Makhmalbaf imposter’s trial. Events preceding the young man’s arrest are dramatized and reconstructed, but with the real people “playing” themselves. A masterful exploration of the nature of truth and cinematic illusion with a distinctly off-beat sense of humor, Close-Up has been widely hailed as one of Kiarostami’s crowning achievements and one of the greatest films of the 1990s.
“The greatest documentary on filmmaking I have ever seen.”—Werner Herzog