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film review
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In 3 Faces, Jafar Panahi investigates a society’s relationship with cinema and celebrity.Courtesy of TIFF

  • 3 Faces
  • Directed by: Jafar Panahi
  • Written by: Jafar Panahi and Nader Saeivar
  • Featuring: Jafar Panahi and Behnaz Jafari
  • Classification: PG; 100 minutes


4 out of 4 stars

Receiving a suicidal video message from an isolated girl, Iranian actress Behnaz Jafari and director Jafar Panahi (playing fictional versions of themselves) journey through the twisting road to her remote village to discover whether she is still alive. There they encounter locals deeply impressed by movie stars yet utterly unwilling to let their children pursue artistic dreams. In this subtly charming film, Panahi (The White Balloon), an artist much harassed by the Iranian government, investigates a society’s relationship with cinema and celebrity. He also observes Iran’s confinement of women and pursues an understated investigation of Iranian class differences similar to that of Asghar Farhadi (A Separation). It’s a film full of delicate metaphors and gentle humour – the locals have elaborate rules for giving a warning honk of the horn on their one-track road but refuse a simple suggestion to widen it – and meanders, sometimes a bit elliptically, to its conclusion.

3 Faces opens March 8 in Toronto.

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