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Modern Masters
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France, 2010, 106 Minute Running Time
Additional Countries: Italy
Topic: Drama
Program: Modern Masters
Language: English, French, Italian English Sub-Titles

Awards: Cannes Film Festival 2010 (Best Actress)

Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami turns to the sun-drenched landscape of Tuscany for the setting of his latest feature. The ever-radiant Juliette Binoche’s performance as a gallery owner accompanying a somewhat stiff author on a tour to promote his new book on fakery in art deservedly won this year’s Best Actress award in Cannes. At the heart of the film is the question of the precise relationship between the two protagonists. Have they met before? Are they merely fan and author? Or are they, as a waitress believes, an estranged couple seeking some kind of reconciliation?

As the two talk about art and their respective lives, careers and ideals, the sense of ambiguity grows as they each hold back from full disclosure. Kiarostami masterfully leads us down emotional cul-de-sacs as we veer between the feeling that we are witnessing the start of a beautiful romance and something altogether more melancholy. One of the year’s filmic highlights, this meditative and sometimes funny mystery story (which introduces acclaimed baritone William Shimmell in his film debut as the author), nevertheless has a serious point to make about the need to feel safe--or at least safer--in a world full of doubts.

DIRECTOR: Abbas Kiarostami
Producer: Marin Karmitz, Nathanaël Karmitz, Charles Gillibert, Angelo Barbagallo
Editor: Bahman Kiarostami
Screenwriter: Abbas Kiarostami
Cinematographer: Luca Bigazzi
Principal Cast: Juliette Binoche, Sami Frey, William Shimmel
Filmography: Shirin (2008), Ten (2002), The Wind Will Carry Us (1999), Taste of Cherry (1996), Under the Olive Trees (1994)
Print Source: IFC Films - www.ifcflms.com

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