Salaam Cinema

The talented and prolific Iranian filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf (The Peddler, Marriage of the Blessed) filmed his auditions, at which 5,000 potential actors showed up, and most of this 75-minute documentary (1995) consists of his interviews with various applicants. In contrast to Abbas Kiarostami’s brilliant documentaries (Homework, Close-up) and fiction films (Life and Nothing More, Through the Olive Trees) about the interchanges between filmmakers and ordinary people, this is a bullying and occasionally sadistic, albeit candid and honest, display by Makhmalbaf of his power over such people, full of facile ironies and pearls of wisdom about the film world. Certainly not devoid of interest, though it mainly reconfirms the greatness of Kiarostami’s forays into the same sort of material. (JR)

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