10 (2002)

Conversations in the front seats of a car driving around Tehran comprise Abbas Kiarostami’s moving essay on the place of women in Iranian society.

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“The key achievement of this minimalist statement is that Kiarostami conveys these truths with nothing more than a simple two-camera setup and a series of naked emotions.”
Ed Gonzalez, www.slantmagazine.com, 2002

Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami achieved acclaim on the 1990s film-festival scene, but confounded many critics with this ultra-minimalist drama about a woman (Mania Akbari) driving around Tehran, picking up various passengers as she goes.

As her son, her sister, a woman on her way to prayer, and others all take turns in the passenger seat, Kiarostami intimately films ten conversational episodes from a small digital camera fixed to the dashboard. From this simple concept emerges a complex picture of the oppression of women in modern Iran. In 10’s most subversive moment one passenger momentarily removes her headdress, both character and actor thereby breaking Iranian law. It’s a poignant example of Kiarostami’s customary play on the boundaries of fiction and reality.

Also on the busy streets of Tehran, Kiarostami’s early featurette Fellow Citizen (1983) portrays a traffic policeman’s exasperated efforts to divert vehicles from a restricted zone.

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