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Crimson Gold, directed by Jafar Panahi and written by Abbas Kiarostami, tells the story of an ordinary pizza deliveryman named Hussein (Hussein Emadeddin), and his journey navigating the dark injustices of Teheran - from the dirty, downtown “souk” neighborhood to the wealthy, uptown enclaves of the city. The opening scene, an amazing four-minute, camera-steady shot, shows a gun-toting Hussein taking over an upscale jewelry shop, killing the shop owner, and then shooting himself. This grisly scene sets the story for a re-examination of the events that led Hussein to this destructive explosion. Panahi attempts to understand how a simple, shy and good-hearted guy like Hussein could be brought to such violence. Hussein is engaged to the sister of his closest friend, Ali. They decide to go to a jewelry shop after Ali’s discovery of a handbag with a broken wedding ring and a receipt for an expensive imported necklace. Eager to see where such an expensive necklace is sold, they arrive at the shop and are turned away for their working class appearance. Ali suggests returning in their best suits with Hussein's fiancée, to see whether there is anything they can afford. When they realize they don’t have enough money, and when the shop’s owner insults them by suggesting they go to the bazaar for gold, they feel a complete sense of humiliation. In a breathtaking shot we see Hussein on his motorbike, silent and angry, whirring through Teheran’s busy streets. Panahi follows Hussein and his deliveries, letting us see the different people and rushes Hussein to take his Vespa and leave. In another, a cocky policeman refuses him entry to an apartment building for a pizza delivery while a police force waits downstairs to ambush party guests on a charges of drinking alcohol and dancing in mixed company. Resigned and again humiliated, he passes the pizza amongst the soldiers and the arrested partygoers in a scene of dark humor. Soon after, at a luxury apartment building, Hussein makes a delivery to a wealthy bachelor. After telling Hussein that his girlfriend has left him, the gentleman invites Hussein in and over pizza regales him with stories of his wealthy life. Hussein eyes the trappings of his wealth: a winged piano, a gym and a swimming pool. Next we see Hussein in the jewelry shop, where we found him in the film’s first scene, defeated and ready for violence. Panahi uses Hussein's job as a delivery driver to move inside houses and behind closed doors to reveal places rarely seen by western audiences; what emerges is both a daring interrogation of Iranian society and a universal tale of urban alienation and inequality.

Film Info

(2013)
2 min 16 sec Duration
16,511 views
  • Posted: November 15, 2007
  • Director: Jafar Panahi
  • Writer: Abbas Kiarostami
  • Studio: Wellspring
  • Release: January 16, 2004
  • Cast: Azita Rayeji, Hossain Emadeddin, Kamyar Sheisi

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