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With: Hossain Emadeddin, Kamyar Sheisi, Azita Rayeji
Written by: Abbas Kiarostami
Directed by: Jafar Panahi
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for drug content, sexual situations, partial nudity, language and some violence
Language: Farsi with English subtitles
Running Time: 97
Date: 05/24/2003

Crimson Gold (2003)

4 Stars (out of 4)

Precious Jewels

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Abbas Kiarostami once again provided the story/screenplay for his pupil Jafar Panahi's newest film, Crimson Gold as he did for his amazing 1995 feature debut The White Balloon. But it's clear that even without his mentor's help, Panahi is the most promising of the new Iranian directors.

Crimson Gold focuses on an overweight pizza deliveryman Hussein (Hossain Emadeddin) who faces injustice and imbalance everywhere he goes. Panahi begins the film at the end, letting us know that Hussein is eventually doomed. His future brother-in-law Ali (Kamyar Sheisi) finds a purse with a receipt for very expensive jewelry.

Later, they are refused entry into another fancy jewelry store. During a pizza delivery, Hussein is barred from entering the building because police are busy arresting people at a fancy party. Finally, a rich man invites him in during a delivery and he enjoys real luxury for one fleeting moment.

Crimson Gold isn't perhaps as fully realized or as perfectly crafted as Panahi's last film The Circle but because of his observant nature and his willingness to let scenes play out organically, the film comes alive with dozens of gorgeous little moments.

When Hussein divides up his unsold pizza among the cops who have been mean to him, or even when he arrives home and slumps sadly into his bed, we understand exactly who he is and what he must be feeling. Azita Rayeji co-stars Hussein's fiancee. This is almost certainly one of 2004's best films.

Like many Iranian films, the intimate Crimson Gold plays just as well on home video as it did in the theater. Wellspring's new DVD comes with a large trailer gallery, including Carnage, In My Skin, Les Destinees, Marooned in Iraq, Ran, Russian Ark, Under the Sand, The Circle and Yi Yi. Sound options include Dolby Digital Stereo and Dolby Digital 5.1. The movie comes with optional English subtitles. Other extras consist of weblinks and a director filmography.

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