Story Undone

Unlike Hassan Yektapanah's debut, Djomeh (2000), a pastoral fable about patience and persistence, his tragicomic Story Undone, about a pretentious director and his cameraman trying to film a group of Iranian men and women in the act of illegally emigrating, is full of impatience and paranoia. A Silver Leopard winner at Venice, it combines two favorite Iranian topics—perilous border crossings and the process of moviemaking—as it questions the dividing line between narrative (the fictional director avidly capturing “human interest” stories) and documentary (initially the emigrants and their handlers wear identical masks to protect their anonymity). Yet despite fascinating mood shifts as the bumbling director alternates between buffoon, threat, and savior, the film never entirely shakes the gimmickry of its setup. In Farsi with subtitles. 84 min.

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