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Iranian director Jafar Panahi is no stranger to controversy: after the Iranian government banned him from filmmaking, his 2011 documentary THIS IS NOT A FILM had to be smuggled out of the country on a USB baked into a cake, while his 2015 follow-up TEHRAN TAXI was shot entirely within a car driving through the Iranian capital. Blending a commitment to realism with an incisive political edge, Panahi often appears in his own films to cast a critical eye on modern Iranian society.
Returning to his narrative roots and channeling an Abbas Kiarostami-like patience, 3 FACES positions Pahani outside the confines of the city and into the everyday life and eccentricities of the Iranian countryside. After actress Behnaz Jafari receives an alarming video message from a distressed teenage girl who feels stifled by the expectations of her tight-knit rural community, she and Panahi journey to the small town to check on her well-being. As the pair become embedded in the day-to-day life of rural life, the search for the girl unwinds into a conversation-heavy reflection on the state of contemporary Iran and the problem position of women within it.
“This is Jafar Panahi, a filmmaker with more cause than most to feel victimized, turning a deeply respectful, artful and compassionate eye outward, to the struggles of others, and finding such empathy there that the film amounts to a heartfelt statement of solidarity.” - Variety