Following in the tradition of Abbas Kiarostami's Close Up and Mohsen Makhmalbaf's A Moment Of Innocence, this directorial debut from 18-year-old Samira Makhmalbaf (daughter of Mohsen) is another humanistic work which blurs the boundaries between documentary and fiction.
Based on a real-life case and set in a run-down area of Tehran, it tells the story of an impoverished father and blind mother who have kept their twin daughters locked away as prisoners for 11 years. After receiving a petition from the neighbours, the social services intervene and gradually the girls are allowed to explore their freedom in the streets outside their house.
The Apple spins out a portrait of family life, telling a parable about the emancipation of women in modern Iran (with the determined female social worker representing the spirit of Iran's increasingly egalitarian society). Also notable are the naturalistic performances of the real-life family, playing themselves under wise direction from a teen helmer who refuses to judge the parents' behaviour. Ultra low-key, but perceptive, film-making.
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