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2 reviews, 4 user ratings

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by Greg Muskewitz

"Constructed better as an overlong short film rather than a feature."
4 stars

The newest entry from revered filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami opens locally skipping ABC Africa, the second most recent falling after The Wind Will Carry Us.

That film, apparently, was his first foray into the digital video realm, said to be the land of no return as Kiarostami prefers the convenience of the medium’s ease (to say nothing more of it). So his retirement to video is excuse enough for my retirement to watch the thing on video (it only plays a week), which perhaps unsurprisingly looks as though it was filmed on a home camcorder. Kiarostami’s continued obsessions with the blending of fictional film and documentary, not to ignore his pastime of following his protagonist(s) in the seat of a car, are all on display here as he documents ten separate conversations on the road with the same driver and a rotation of passengers. The driver is a divorced and re-married Iranian woman, and along for the rides are her young and bratty son, her sister, an old woman she offers transport for to a mausoleum, an unseen hooker, and another, younger woman, on trips from the mausoleum. Conversations vary in a range of presentation — content, length, focus, times (meaning this does not take place within a set day), etc. It is only to be expected that the quality, not of the filming itself, but its ingredients, will alter on any given ride. Some of that is determined by the editing of the conversations — with the camera remaining on one character for the whole of the talk (or argument), or switching back-and-forth; on the personality of the characters (the son in particular being the most abrasive, the prostitute being so flippant, etc.); on the interest of passing-by motorists, and so on. Each person is given their own personality, the scenes have their differences in tone, and they all display different (and sometimes contradictory or even acquiescent) developments from the mother. The 93-minutes feel like more, the concept doesn’t always pan out, and overall, Ten isn’t constructed as much as a feature than it is as an over-extended short film. But sticking with it provides further insight into Kiarostami’s psychology and society (ostensibly through the revolving viewpoints) in addition to the occasional piece of humor that complicates the ability to pinpoint what is prepared as fiction and what isn’t. (As the mother drives along, her sister points out an oncoming obstacle. “There’s a hole. [The car dips and shimmies.] You found it.”)


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originally posted: 12/28/03 22:20:24
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 San Francisco Film Festival. For more in the 2003 San Francisco Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Palm Springs Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Palm Springs Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

11/26/10 Sia Shar kiarostami's style.i liked conversations.a genius in a shape of a director 4 stars
4/25/08 Reza Tayebi It`s not as good as some previous Kiarostami`s films. But definitely worth a look. 4 stars
4/27/03 Arash sayyar great minimalist portrait of women in world 5 stars
3/08/03 UCSB Student I saw it last night... The subtitles are a little off, but it's definitely worth a look! 4 stars
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Directed by
  Abbas Kiarostami

Written by
  Abbas Kiarostami

  Mania Akbari
  Amin Maher

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