Crimson Gold (Talaye Sorgh) begins with a heist that ends in tragedy. While trying to rob a Tehran jewellery store, the shambling Hussein (Hussain Emadeddin) panics and kills the owner, then shoots himself in the head. Looping back in time, the rest of the film explores why this war veteran resorted to such an act of desperation.
Working from a succinct script by Abbas Kiarostami, director Jafar Panahi explores the widening gulf between rich and poor in Iran's teeming capital. Eking out a living delivering pizzas in wealthy neighbourhoods, the heavily medicated Hussein is engaged to marry the sister (Azita Rayeji) of his best pal Ali (Kamyar Sheisi). Yet he's subject to various humiliations and setbacks that strip him of his dignity.
Peppered with scenes of absurd humour, this moving drama underlines the continued vitality of Iranian cinema. Okay, so it's unlikely that Hollywood is quaking just yet, but the Iranian New Wave just keeps on coming.
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