Screened as part of NZIFF 2004
Jafar Panahi, whose superb The Circle provided a comprehensive excursion into the lives of Iran’s oppressed women, applies his attention, and an exact dramatic power, to describing the abuse of the poor. His commandingly unprepossessing protagonist is a lumbering pizza delivery man. Structured as a flashback from his self-inflicted demise in a botched robbery, Crimson Gold is essentially a series of social encounters which make the shades of his pariah status increasingly clear – both to him and to us. In the penultimate sequence a rich bachelor, needing an audience, invites him into his luxury apartment. Traipsing through its palatial vastness with our hapless protagonist, we’re witnessing a post-revolutionary Iran never previously seen on screen.
“The film’s candid treatment of the class resentments brewing in contemporary Tehran have made the film unshowable in Iran, where the government has branded Panahi an American agent – a painful irony given that he can’t even enter this country.” — Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader