Ten (2003) It's not uncommon for people to wax philosophical while sitting behind the wheel of a car, and the single-shot, semi-improvisatory "dashboard cam" monologue has become… 2003-03-05 Unrated PT94M Drama Foreign Language Mania Akbari Amin Maher Zeitgeist Films
Review

Ten (2003)

MPAA Rating: Unrated
Mania Akbari, Ten | DRIVE IT HOME Akbari circles big issues
Image credit: Ten: Zeitgeist Films
DRIVE IT HOME Akbari circles big issues
EW's GRADE
B+

Details Limited Release: Mar 05, 2003; Rated: Unrated; Length: 94 Minutes; Genres: Drama, Foreign Language; With: Mania Akbari and Amin Maher; Distributor: Zeitgeist Films

It's not uncommon for people to wax philosophical while sitting behind the wheel of a car, and the single-shot, semi-improvisatory ''dashboard cam'' monologue has become Abbas Kiarostami's signature trope: It is to the celebrated Iranian director what circuses were to Fellini or the silence of God was to Bergman. Ten, in form, is a variation on Kiarostami's 1998 ''Taste of Cherry,'' only this time the designated driver isn't mired in monosyllabic gloom. She's a beautiful, feisty, divorced single mother in her 30s, wearing a head scarf but also chic sunglasses (think Catherine Zeta-Jones in the land of Islam), who carries on a series of dialogues with her extraordinarily bratty and articulate preteen son, her far less liberated sister, and, in one amazing scene that sounds as if it might have come out of a Tehran edition of ''Taxicab Confessions,'' a prostitute. This isn't the land of hushed, dawdling subservience we're used to from previous Iranian films -- that world of mute children and furtive, often childlike adults. It is, rather, a glimpse into a society that has grown more open, more free, and also more casually selfish in its interpersonal aggression. Mania Akbari, as the unnamed driver, seems to shoulder all of the film's contradictions in her world-weary yet spirited defiance.

Originally posted Mar 14, 2003 Published in issue #700 Mar 14, 2003 Order article reprints