3 FACES – Review by Jennifer Merin

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Internationally acclaimed Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi, considered subversive by his government and banned from making movies for 20 years, always comes up with very creative and inventive ways to continue to practice his craft. In This is Not A Film (2011) he dramatized his real life situation by documenting himself defiantly trying to plan a film production — while he was under house arrest. That filmhad to be smuggled out of Iran on a flash drive that was embedded in a cake.

3 Faces is another act of defiance. Panahi is not under house arrest at this time, but he is still banned from making films.

This time, Panahi and actress Behnaz Jafari take to the road, heading for a rural village, in response to a plea for help from a young actress whose rural family wants her to lead a traditional village life — very much against hr wishes. The plot twists itself into an intriguing mystery about weather the girl is alive or dead and what brought her to her fate, but the film is even more engaging in the expositive way it reveals how women of all ages cope with the hardships and dehumanization they face in Iran’s male-dominated social structure.

Panahi, obviously in sympathy with the oppressed, captures all the troubling nuances of the women’s daily life and the subtle support they give to each other. 3 Faces isn’t playing in Iran, but it is touring the world. You should see it. Read more on CINEMA CITIZEN.

EDITOR’S NOTE: 3 Faces is AWFJ’s Movie of the Week for March 8, 2019

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Jennifer Merin

Jennifer Merin is the Film Critic for Womens eNews and contributes the CINEMA CITIZEN blog for and is managing editor for Women on Film, the online magazine of the Alliance of Women Film Journalists, of which she is President. She has served as a regular critic and film-related interviewer for The New York Press and About.com. She has written about entertainment for USA Today, The L.A. Times, US Magazine, Ms. Magazine, Endless Vacation Magazine, Daily News, New York Post, SoHo News and other publications. After receiving her MFA from Tisch School of the Arts (Grad Acting), Jennifer performed at the O'Neill Theater Center's Playwrights Conference, Long Wharf Theater, American Place Theatre and LaMamma, where she worked with renown Japanese director, Shuji Terayama. She subsequently joined Terayama's theater company in Tokyo, where she also acted in films. Her journalism career began when she was asked to write about Terayama for The Drama Review. She became a regular contributor to the Christian Science Monitor after writing an article about Marketta Kimbrell's Theater For The Forgotten, with which she was performing at the time. She was an O'Neill Theater Center National Critics' Institute Fellow, and then became the institute's Coordinator. While teaching at the Universities of Wisconsin and Rhode Island, she wrote "A Directory of Festivals of Theater, Dance and Folklore Around the World," published by the International Theater Institute. Denmark's Odin Teatret's director, Eugenio Barba, wrote his manifesto in the form of a letter to "Dear Jennifer Merin," which has been published around the world, in languages as diverse as Farsi and Romanian. Jennifer's culturally-oriented travel column began in the LA Times in 1984, then moved to The Associated Press, LA Times Syndicate, Tribune Media, Creators Syndicate and (currently) Arcamax Publishing. She's been news writer/editor for ABC Radio Networks, on-air reporter for NBC, CBS Radio and, currently, for Westwood One's America In the Morning. She is a member of the Critics Choice Association in the Film, Documentary and TV branches and a voting member of the Black Reel Awards. For her AWFJ archive, type "Jennifer Merin" in the Search Box (upper right corner of screen).