Nothing short of one of the best films I’ve ever seen. The film plays is structured like a documentary, and it reenacts a true story with the real people involved, but it also plays around with fiction, and it’s all very odd. The “meta” layer added to the film makes it bold in a way I have rarely seen in any film. What that layer does is allow us to examine the story with a great deal of questioning. There are elements of the film that feel completely natural and documentary-like, yet there are other scenes that are very clearly composed for the film. Because of this there is no sure footing and we are left to question the main character, Sabzian, in much the same way as the judge in the court proceedings.
That questioning reveals a character of unique complexity. A man with an urge to escape his misery, not through the normal means, or even drugs or suicide, but by becoming another man entirely. In his own life he is hardly respected, but by becoming one of his favourite directors he finds that respect and that dignity he strives for. And that’s what this film is really about: dignity. It’s about being able to look at oneself and find that reason for being, whether it be through work or through life or through friendship or through art. It’s also one of the most beautiful expressions of the importance of art I have ever seen.