Ten Abbas Kiarostami

A DVD treat for Kiarostami buffs, Ten walks like one movie but in fact contains two. Track number one is of course Ten, the Iranian giant's application of what he learned shooting ABC Africa with a mini-DV camera. Freed of the cumbersome apparatus of standard film production, he points his tiny lens at the various passengers of a proud woman's car and lets that baby run. The ten episodes range from the venting of our heroine's young son (still bitter about her mother's divorce) to the derision of a prostitute who mocks her driver's pompous propriety and a friend who weeps over a one-sided relationship, fashioning a subtle but pointed critique of women's roles in Iranian society. If the thought of staring at someone's face for ten minutes without cutting sounds like Chinese water torture, you should give this a pass, but the attentive viewer will see the nuances in privileging one passenger over another and reflect on how the choices affect your perception of the dialogue. And though it's not quite the sustained effort some of its supporters claim, there are at least two sequences that hit with sufficient force to make it a must-see. The slightly shorter (but not lesser) B side is 10 on Ten, featuring Kiarostami ensconced in his favourite location (his car), explaining how his film practice aims to reveal rather than dominate reality. Discussing everything from the use of non-professionals in their own roles to anti-manipulative scoring techniques and informal approaches to the script, he manages to reveal something else: the mind of that rare artist who seeks to explore the possibilities of an existing thing rather than its annihilation through fascistic "mastery." Also included is a small booklet with a mini-essay by the director and a filmography. (Seville)