Stars: Behnaz Jafari, Jafar Panahi, Marziyeh Rezaei
Despite the twenty-year ban on filmmaking from the Iranian authorities, writer-director Jafar Panahi remains, thankfully, pretty prolific. His follow-up to 2015’s ‘Taxi Tehran’ is a haunting drama with a feminist slant. The first of the female titular ‘3 faces’ is that of famous actress Behnaz Jafari (playing herself) who abandons a film shoot after she receives a troubling video on her iPhone from a young woman (Rezaei), the second face. On it she laments how her parents have forbidden her from attending the drama conservatory in Tehran where she has been accepted, before chastising Behnaz for ignoring her efforts to contact her, then appearing to kill herself. Distraught, Jafari persuades director Panahi (also playing himself) to drive her to the girl’s village to find out what has happened. The third face is that of a pre-revolutionary actress who has retired to the village. This is an eloquent and elegantly metaphorical depiction of how women are side-lined, which once more sees the director exploring weighty themes with a deceptive lightness of touch, while illuminating quotidian life in contemporary Iran via recognizable characters and dryly humorous exchanges.