"Ten" Review

By Sandrine Marques Plume Noire

A woman in a car and ten sequences, ten conversations with the passengers who take a seat in the vehicle.

Her son, first of all, surprisingly intelligent and clairvoyant regarding his parents' separation. Fed up with being the confidant and witness to maternal disillusions, he will end up rejecting her. And then, there are other women who invest the narrow cockpit of the car and who deliver a share of their intimate dramas: a disappointed lover who shaves her head, a prostitute, the pious old woman.... As many figures who testify to the condition of the women in Iran today and the desire for emancipation which is hampered by men who are still exerting their domination on this society.

Kiarostami's film is haunting, hypnotic and terribly moving. The camera does not leave the cockpit of the car at any time, closely capturing the emotions of the occupants, whose words invade the exiguous space of the vehicle. It is thus private road movie, shot behind closed doors. The car is the place where words can fly away freely in a country where women don't have freedom of speech.

The road movie is a genre the Iranian director has an affection for; his characters move a lot while paradoxically giving the impression of being immobile. The same applies to this film. Here, the driver traverses the city but she will not progress socially. Her condition will not evolve, just like that of her different passengers. For proof, the repetition of a few minutes of a scene we have already seen, as an ultimate sequence.

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