Crimson Gold | Film | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Crimson Gold 

From its stunning first scene to its deliberate delineation of a single, ill-fated life, Jafar Panahi's Crimson Gold is another in a long line of socially conscious dramas from Iran. The focus here, though, isn't the repression of women Panahi mapped so thoroughly in The Circle, but rather the growing rift between the rich and poor in Teheran, where good-hearted, slow-witted Hussein is a pizza deliveryman whose prime desire is to acquire gold for the young woman he wishes to marry. Bloated by cortisone he takes for an unspecified medical condition, Hussein plots crimes with his co-worker Ali (who's also his intended's brother), but the ex-soldier is even worse as a criminal than as a deliveryman. After a pair of humiliations at a jewelry store, his frustration is sharpened to a deadly point during a lengthy, disorienting encounter with a pizza customer, an angry playboy living unhappily in his father's huge, opulent condo. Crimson Gold is deliberately paced, but working from a screenplay by master filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami (And the Wind Will Carry Us, Ten), Panahi paints an incisive portrait of a culture where relative deprivations come to seem enormous as an emerging elite pulls away economically from an unlucky working class. In Farsi, with subtitles. Harris 3 cameras



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