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86 minutes · 2013
Similar to Asghar Farhadi's A Separation, this 2013 Iranian feature uses a daunting and oppressive federal institution as the backdrop for a complex human drama. When a man is charged with murder, his child's cunning schoolteacher (Pantea Bahram) spends an afternoon trying to convince each of the seven witnesses to come forward with information that might save him from execution. They're held back by self-interest, personal grudges, and outright fear of the judicial process, showing how an unregulated system turns common citizens against one another. The crime is never shown on screen, so one is plunged into the action and forced to decipher the information as it comes, which heightens the suspense in an otherwise talky and tedious story. Hossein Shahabi directed. In Persian with subtitles.

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