3 Faces (Jafar Panahi, 2018): Iran

Reviewed by Yuan Luo, watched in AFI Filmfest 2018

The plot is very simple. The director receives a suicide video from a country girl to the actress and hopes the actress will save her. When the actress received the video, she immediately went to the village to find the girl. On the way, they met the old man who had no language in each other (a Persian, a Turkish). When they met the wedding scene, they met a lying in the soil. Old lady. Eventually, they went to a village where people from all over the country came together, but later they knew they were coming to find a girl. They heard the girl’s home, but the girl was not at home. The actress learned that the girl family was moved from a foreign country. The girl had a younger brother with bipolar disorder. For the girl who wanted to be an actor, the villagers were ridiculed. People there felt that the play was useless. They also found a good friend of the girl, and the girl’s good friend did not know where the girl was. They found the place where the girl committed suicide, but did not find the girl’s trace. If she committed suicide, she should have a body. Just when the two did not know how to go back to the village to communicate with the elderly, the girl’s good friend came, so the actress followed the girl’s good friend. The actress found the girl and knew that the girl had cheated her with her good friend. The actress married her and beat her. The girl said that she had no choice but to beg the actress to help her. The director and actress left the village with anger, but met an injured cow on the road to block the way. The actress felt that her emotions were a little out of control, reflecting on herself and returning to the village. They lived in the village and mediate the contradiction between the girl and the family.

The social problems presented in this film are not so sharp, even very mild. From the movies, we seem to think that there are such things in China. There are also some strange folk customs in China’s rural areas. The social status of women at the bottom of China is also not high. Poverty and ignorance limit the imagination of those people. Their lives are all Unchanging, but few people think about changing. This exposes a very serious problem: how to make the rural people open, and how the rural women should go. At the end of the movie we saw that the director set a long shot. The front window of the car was broken by the girl’s brother with bipolar disorder. The car stopped at an intersection. From that intersection, we saw a winding road. At that time, the actress had to get off the road. She walked all the way, and then the girl’s good friend caught up. From this shot we gained strength. I think this movie looks comfortable, because I smelled the director’s deep nostalgia. A director who only loves his land will be interested in shooting it on the screen. We will see those who are backward but kind, see the spring water, see the hillside woods, and see those who see the strangers not talking. The child who runs, thinks that the land is so cute. Why is a director who loves his hometown restricted from entering the country? This is a damn political problem.

The film seems to be an actress looking for a young girl as the main line, telling a suspense story, but the director consciously eliminates the suspense atmosphere and uses a more relaxed attitude to show the living conditions of the ordinary people in the Iranian countryside. Unlike most other Iranian films, the story of “Three Faces” takes place in the Turkish-speaking region, but the people here and the compatriots in other parts of Iran give us a similar impression. They are kind and hospitable and treat their faith with sincerity. At the same time, it also gives full hospitality and tolerance to visiting guests.

Panasi has a comprehensive control over the development of the film story. He carefully designed all the details in the script. In order to make the story to the maximum extent possible, he prepared two sets of scripts in parallel. The story of the contradiction and challenge he captured, and then based on this, develop two possible follow-up situations of the story.

This way of processing allows him to maximize his involvement in the fictional road film story to give him feedback, so that “Three Faces” shows a semi-documentary style. The rural people’s hard life, lack of academic desire, lack of channels, and low status of women, Panathi relatively straightforwardly expressed his humanistic concern for the Iranian people. Considering that he is in the adversity of his life, his care is more precious and meaningful.


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