A jury award-winner at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival, Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi's Crimson Gold offers a revealing look at contemporary Tehran through the day-to-day life of a suspiciously impassive pizza-delivery man named Hussein (Hussein Emadeddin), who rides through the streets of the city on his motor scooter as if he were a robot -- but who evidently misses nothing in his keen observations. In an earlier film, The Circle, Panahi explored the difficulties of being a single woman in Iran; in this one, the director shows us the envies and ambitions of ordinary Iranians, the forbidding social structure that impedes them and the great patience it takes to endure. Leading man Emadeddin, a non-actor who also happens to be a paranoid schizophrenic, makes for a fascinating presence -- phlegmatic yet curious, undemonstrative but strangely magnetic. In the end, Panahi's bewildering details of plot and motive come together in a coherent whole, and we get an intimate portrait of life in the Middle East that couldn't be more relevant to our present situation.
Crimson Gold will run from Friday, June 25, through Thursday, July 1, in the Starz FilmCenter's compelling international film series. In the coming weeks, new features from France, Denmark and Bangladesh, among other nations, will also be presented. The Starz theaters are located in the Tivoli building on the Auraria campus. For more information, call 303-820-FILM or log on to www.denverfilm.org.