Directed by Jafar Panahi. With Hossain Emadeddin, Kamyar Sheisi, Azita Rayeji
Iran 2003, 35mm, color, 95 min. Persian with English subtitles
With Crimson Gold, Panahi continues his look at contemporary Tehran through the eyes of the city’s losers: in this case, a pizza deliverer who, in the opening scene, commits suicide in the midst of a botched robbery. The film then backtracks to show how one man’s alienation leads to desperation. Panahi’s everyman is endlessly and fruitlessly mobile; his profession allows Crimson Gold to present a cross-section of Iranian society. Like Taxi Driver, the film presents a portrait of a city whose social fabric is unraveling, less from vice and crime than from indifference and economic inequality. The protagonist is played by an actual pizza deliverer, Hossain Emadeddin, whose indelibly world-weary performance is an embodiment of Bressonian restraint.