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Ayneh (The Mirror)

Posted by martinteller on February 28, 2011

This is going to be tough.  I really don’t want to spoil the movie, but it’s hard to talk about without doing so.  But I’ll give it a shot.  It starts with an incredibly basic premise… a little girl waiting for her mother to pick her up from school decides to try to make it home on her own.  About halfway through the film, something happens that might be the most unexpected twist I’ve ever seen.  It’s beautifully, magically meta.  Like Kiarostami and Makhmalbaf, Panahi is doing bold, refreshing things with the medium.  Both halves are compelling despite (or because of) their simplicity, and the parallels between them add extra dimensions.  And Mina Mohammad Khani (who looks so familiar because her older sister had previously starred in The White Balloon) gives a great performance for such a young child.  Where the film falters a bit is in the transparency of its central device… it works amazingly well at first, but here and there the cracks show.  This doesn’t have too much of a detrimental effect, though, it’s still a wonderful, thought-provoking work about the world through a child’s eyes, the line between cinema and reality, Iranian society, and a number of little observations about humanity.  Great stuff.  Rating: 9


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