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Moviemaking is never an easy business, even when nobody dies or gets arrested. But by the same token, tragedy shouldn't serve as an excuse to grade on a curve. Closed Curtain isn't a "bad" film, per se, but it's so much less than we expect from an artist of Panahi's enormous capacity, its Best Screenplay award from the Berlin jury an acknowledgment of precisely the movie's weakest component. Then, earlier this week, an intriguing coda to Closed Curtain arrived when Iran lodged a formal complaint against the Berlinale for screening Panahi's film, urging festival organizers to "correct their behavior." Hmm...a cardboard-cutout director creating an international incident with a film he wasn't permitted to make in the first place: Perhaps life has just written the script for Panahi's next film, and his first full-fledged farce.

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