The Iranian auteur Abbas Kiarostami has long blurred fiction and reality—in his films, it’s never clear what reflects the real world and what’s been plucked from the director’s interior universe. A subset of such ambiguity is Kiarostami’s interest in art, its intent, and how it affects us. His 1997 film Taste of Cherry ended with a shot of Kiarostami and his crew…filming Taste of Cherry. In his 2008 film Shirin, he instead fixates on the audience. Showing as part of this year’s Iranian Film Festival, it observes the faces of more than 100 Iranian actresses—and Juliette Binoche—as they watch a film of a nearly millennium-old Persian tale. But Kiarostami never shows us what they’re watching; his visual narrative lies wholly in smiles, grimaces, laughter, and tears.
THE FILM SHOWS AT 7 P.M. IN THE MEYER AUDITORIUM AT THE FREER GALLERY, 12TH STreet AND JEFFERSON DRive SW. FREE. (202) 633-1000.