NYFF 2018 Review: “3 Faces” (2018) ★★★★


It’s very strange living in the 21st century that some parts of the world still follow rules of the old age. How can we tell someone what to do with their life, whom to marry, whether to go to the school or not? It’s perhaps heartless of me to admit, but no matter how much we want our parents to live forever, they will not, just the same as we won’t once we reach our finality. So why break someone else’s life just because we want them a certain way instead of encouraging our loved ones to become a better and more successful human being?

“3 Faces” from the critically acclaimed Iranian master, Jafar Panahi, follows a desperate teenager, Marzieh Rezaei, who sends a very troubling and haunting video to Iran’s most famous person, Behnaz Jafari, an actress who Marziyeh’s family watches every night. The girl’s only wish is to be rescued from her current situation, However, the ending of the video suggests otherwise, when in her plea of help she loses her last hope. That’s when Behnaz Jafari embarks herself, along with Jafar Panahi, to the village of Saran to know the fate of Marziyeh.

Behnaz Jafari, playing fictionalized herself, is shaken to the core after seeing Marziyeh’s message that can bring tears to anyone’s eyes. “Hello, Madam Jafari,’ begins Marziyeh in her video message to the actress, “I’m Marziyeh Rezaei, from Saran village, near Mianeh. I don’t know how to say this. I can’t think. I’ve loved cinema since I was little. I’ve always dreamed of being an actress. I fought for that. I studied and studied and studied. I’ve been accepted to the conservatory, among the best grades in Tehran.

But everything fell apart. My family and my fiancé’s family have let me down. My mother told me if I am married, I could do what I liked. I accepted the deal. But they betrayed me. I decided to contact you. I called you to beg you to come and convince them. My family knows your films and series. They watch you every night on TV. They laugh and cry with you. They would have listened to you. But you never called or texted me. I see no other way out.” With that, Marziyeh felt completely defeated and hangs herself.

That opening segment is one of the most powerful you will see in any meta-mockumentary, which the entire film is based around, leading everyone to one question – “Why should someone has to go through what Marziyeh had to just to prove a point? Indeed, for some the end result is the most important thing, and what will be done in the process does not really matter as long as there is an impact. And there was, for it will make many people think about whether we really must play God when we are not?


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