HKIFF Review: Closed Curtain / Pardé – پرده 电影关不住 (2013) – Iran

Review by: Andrew Chan FCCA AACTA FIPRESCI
Review Date: 18th April 2013

Directed by: Jafar Panahi, Kambuzia Partovi
Starring: Kambuzia Partovi, Maryam Moqadam, Jafar Panahi

Reviewed as part of 37th Hong Kong International Film Festival 2013

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Closing Film for the 37th Hong Kong International Film Festival 2013

There is a lot of expectation and anticipation going into the critically acclaimed “CLOSED CURTAIN”. When you add the novelty of being the closing film of 37th Hong Kong International Film Festival 2013 and a full house cinema, everything is essentially skyrocketed. However, “CLOSED CURTAIN” not only disappoint, but is rarely engaging, borderline snooze like and ultimately insignificant. I am a big fan of slow burn and art house cinema, but this film goes too far and the result is an extremely personal film for banned Iranian director Jafar Panahi, that can hardly relate to the audience.

Kambuzia Partovi flairs well as lead actor and taking up the majority of the screen time. His Gandi like appearance helps the film retain attention and even a good 40 minutes as the audience questions and reflect on what he can possibly be doing. However, the moment Kambuzia Partovi is off the screen, the film falters and eventually fails, as the core and purpose of watching the film seems to be gone. When the best thing in the film is the pouting cute antics of the dog, you know the film lacks character and strength. Sometimes, being different and slow doesn’t exactly converts to art house and “CLOSED CURTAIN” feels far too unimportant and uninvolving.

All in all, “CLOSED CURTAIN” is easily one of the most over-hyped film of the festival and definitely unworthy of being a closing film. Sure, there may be obvious hints and notions of messages about the Iranian government, but a message alone does not make a movie. In fact, by the time the old man appears on screen again in the final moments, the audience just cannot wait for the film to finish as the directors Jafar Panahi and Kambuzia Partovi again indulge into their own slowness without reason. I wouldn’t call this a bad film by all means, but one thing is definite, it will never be worthy of its critical acclaimed. Shoot me all you like, this “CLOSED CURTAIN” just isn’t my cup of tea. (Neo 2013)

I rated it 5/10

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