Episode #5: Closed Curtain and the Evolution of Jafar Panahi’s Career

Welcome to the fifth episode of the Hello Cinema podcast, where we are joined by special guest Nick Davis. Nick is an Associate Professor of English and Gender and Sexuality Studies at Northwestern University, has been writing as a film critic for over a decade and recently authored The Desiring Image: Gilles Deleuze and Contemporary Queer Cinema. The main topic of our conversation for this episode is Jafar Panahi’s latest film Closed Curtain (Pardeh, 2013, co-directed by Kambuzia Partovi), but Nick’s enthusiasm for Iranian cinema and his familiarity with Panahi’s career led our conversation in interesting directions.

Kambuzia Partovi in Jafar Panahi's Closed Curtain
Kambuzia Partovi in Jafar Panahi’s Closed Curtain

We discuss the trajectory of Panahi’s career from his early days as an assistant director to Abbas Kiarostami to his recent productions under house arrest. We also delve into the reception of Closed Curtain and consider the film as a companion piece to both This Is Not A Film and his breakthrough features. Contextualizing Panahi’s self-reflexivity is a central part of our discussion in this episode due to the prevalence of meta-cinema in Iranian film. And finally, on an unrelated note, we lightly touch on the Toronto International Film Festival, a mere week away, to announce the Iranian films playing there.


Introduction 0:00-1:47
Iranian films at TIFF 2014 1:48-4:05
An introduction to Jafar Panahi’s cinema 4:06-16:11
Closed Curtain: An Enigma 16:12-29:36
Iranian Films Breaking the Fourth Wall 29:37-33:12
Separating Closed Curtain from Its Maker 33:13-37:31
Closed Curtain in Relation to Panahi’s Oeuvre 37:32-43:45
World’s Cutest Dog and Toughest Iguana 43:36-48:55
Panahi’s Definitive Film 48:56-1:04:14
Final Thoughts 1:04:15-1:07:30
Closing 1:07:31-1:09:27

You can download an .mp3 version of this episode here, or subscribe to our show on iTunes.

Works Cited
Films by Jafar Panahi
The White Balloon (imdb, amazon, youtube – no English subtitles)
The Mirror (imdb, amazon)
The Circle (imdb, amazon)
Crimson Gold (imdb, amazon)
Offside (imdb, amazon, instant watch)
This Is Not A Film (imdb, amazon)
Closed Curtain (imdb)
Tina Hassannia’s review of Closed Curtain for Slant (link)
Nick Davis’s The Desiring Image (amazon)
Music: “Sonatine” by Maziar Heidari