- 1 hr 31 min
Ten is a remarkable Iranian movie released in 2004 that presents ten conversational shots between a young woman driving her car in Tehran and her passengers. The movie unfolds as an intimate journey through the streets and life of contemporary Tehran. Each of the ten scenes, shot with a digital camera in and around the car, features a different conversational partner, among them are the young woman's son, sister, friend, and a neighbor. Every conversation is shot in full frame, bringing a sense of intimacy and immediacy to the interactions between the driver and her passengers. The movie is directed and written by Abbas Kiarostami, a renowned Iranian filmmaker known for his minimalist, contemplative films. The film starts with the protagonist, Mania, who is driving through the streets of Tehran. She picks up various passengers who ride with her, each of whom has their unique story to tell. At the same time, Mania maintains a dialogue with them that gradually illuminates her own struggles and discontent with life. Shot entirely from the confines of a moving vehicle, the film offers a genre-defying portrait of contemporary Iran by weaving together the delicate and complex conversations of its characters. At times, the camera stays with the driver and captures her reactions and emotions, while at other times, it moves outside the car to portray the city's street life or to offer glimpses of the characters' personal lives. Among the central themes of Ten are the struggles of a modern, middle-aged Iranian woman to come to terms with her roles as a mother, a daughter, and a friend. These struggles are compounded by Iran's conservative social norms, which often subjugate women and limit their choices. The movie depicts the tension between traditional, male-dominated society and the individual freedom and self-expression that Mania and her female passengers long for. Through her conversations with different people, Mania reveals the depth and complexity of her own character, her contradictions and inner conflicts, her frustrations and hopes. Her passengers' stories reflect their struggles with poverty, divorce, love, sexuality, spirituality, and social norms. Ten is unscripted, but the conversations between Mania and her passengers feel authentic and organic. They sound and feel like real conversations, precisely because they are unplanned, unforced, and seamlessly integrated into the narrative. The movie's stripped-down style enhances this sense of realism, creating an atmosphere of intimacy and immediacy that pulls the viewer into the story. The film's visual language is spare, but it captures the nuances and subtleties of the characters' emotions and interactions. The cinematography is unobtrusive, but it conveys the physical and emotional landscape of Tehran, capturing its contradictions and beauties. The performances of the actors are natural and subtle, making the characters relatable and compelling. Abbas Kiarostami's direction is masterful, creating a seamless flow among the ten different conversations and weaving them together into a coherent whole that reflects the complexities and contradictions of Iranian society. The film is an insightful and poignant portrait of contemporary Iran, offering a window into the lives of its people that is seldom seen in Western media. In conclusion, Ten is an excellent movie that stands out for its minimalist style, authentic performances, and insightful portrayal of modern Iran. It is a humanistic film that reveals the universal themes of human relationships, love, loss, and longing, without judgment or sentimentality. It is a movie that stays with the viewer long after seeing it, inviting reflection and contemplation. Ten is a must-watch movie for anyone interested in Iranian cinema, modern Iran, or contemporary global themes.