Cinema: The Kids Are All Right

Don't tell the clerics, but Iranian films sparkle with wisdom, ambiguity and movie magic

A child's arm stretches out, as far as it can, to pour water from a cup onto a scruffy potted plant. This, the first image in Samira Makhmalbaf's The Apple, introduces with poetic clarity the film's strange, true story: of 12-year-old twin girls imprisoned by their father in their Tehran home, away from sunlight, from the friendship of other kids, from the smallest ecstasies and exasperations of childhood. This wise, poignant film was made under unusual circumstances. The father and the girls were persuaded to play themselves, and Makhmalbaf was only 17 when she shot it. But extraordinary Iranian films have...

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