Panorama | Contemporary World Cinema
Despite the 20-year filmmaking ban imposed upon him by the Iranian authorities, Jafar Panahi continues to find ways to make masterful films. His latest is a deceptively simple tale with a startlingly melodramatic plot starter: Panahi and actress Behnaz Jafari, both playing themselves, receive a video in which a distraught teenaged girl, whose acting dreams have been quashed— partially, it seems, by Jafari—appears to kill herself. Panahi and Jafari decide to travel to the girl’s remote village to investigate the veracity of the video, and it is during the car trip that Panahi’s vision for the film begins to take shape. The blackly humorous interplay between Panahi and Jafari has the master director calling into question traditions of Iranian masculinity and patriarchal culture, the role of women in Iranian society and his own position as a director/manipulator of other people. Occasionally profound, often charming, and always enthralling, 3 Faces shows the humanist director to be in top form.
"This is Jafar Panahi… turning a deeply respectful, artful and compassionate eye outward, to the struggles of others… The really absorbing paradox here is that by shifting his focus away from his own lack of freedom and onto that of a whole underclass of Iranian womanhood, Panahi has made what feels like his freest film since the ban was imposed…"—Jessica Kiang, Variety
Best Screenplay (ex-aequo), Cannes 18