6 June 2020 | Red-125
Even a great director had to start somewhere.
The Iranian movie Gozaresh (1977) was shown in the U.S. with the title The Report. It was written and directed by Abbas Kiarostami.
*Important* We saw the film as a special feature in the Criterion Collection's edition of Copie conforme (Certified Copy). All of the original prints were destroyed. What we see is, in essence, a copy of a copy, and the quality is very poor. (It took about ten minutes for me to realize that the film was in color.)
It's hard to watch a movie when the print is so bad. Still, I appreciate Criterion for making it available.
This was only Kiarostami's second movie, and he certainly wasn't yet the great director that he would become. Still, the movie had some qualities that made it interesting.
Shohreh Aghdashloo portrays a loser who acts as if he were a winner. He works in the tax office, which gives him a certain arbitrary power over citizens, but early in the movie we learn that he's accused of bribery. (We never learn if he did, indeed, demand bribes. My guess, based on his behavior, is that he did.)
It's subtle, but we see him at a casino at one point, which may be director Kiarostami's way of telling us that he has gambling debts.
An order of eviction is served on him, and his response is, "The law says that they can't evict us for at least two years." No sense that he might actually pay the rent.
He's married to an attractive, caring wife (Kurosh Afsharpanah), whom he dominates. He has a young daughter, for whom he seems to care. However, his wife and he bicker about money continually.
There's a long scene in a restaurant/bar, where people talk about honesty, but that scene drags on. It might have more than the obvious symbolic meaning, but I couldn't find it.
This is a movie that I would only recommend if you own the Criterion Collection version of Certified Copy, and if you're particularly interested in Iranian cinema. It has an IMDb rating of 6.9, with which I agreed. I rated it 7.