Masterfully directed by Jafar Panahi (The White Balloon, The Circle), Crimson Gold shows a very different side of Iran to the lyrical portraits which have become the norm in the West. But its eloquence, undeniable poignancy and fabulous central performance from Hussein Emadeddin rightly earned it the Prix Un Certain Regard at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival.
Beginning in extraordinary fashion with a hold up on a Tehran jewellery store that ends in tragedy, the film then backtracks to detail the events that drove an essentially ordinary, decent man to crime. Scripted by Abbas Kiarostami (Ten) and based on a true story, the film guides us around Tehran, building into an engrossing and moving portrait of a man, Hussein (Emadeddin) feeling humiliated and essentially helpless in a world of social injustice, and a city split irrevocably between the privileged and the desperate.
With sharp but unobtrusive direction and naturalistic performances, this is an intimate, absorbing and powerful drama which is both prescient and utterly universal.
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