The 12th century Persian love story of Khosrow and Shirin is as famous in Iran as Romeo and Juliet is in the West. In Abbas Kiarostami's "Shirin," we watch as over one hundred Iranian actresses of stage and screen view, and react to, a cinematic retelling of the story. In a unique twist, the women are filmed entirely in close-up, and we never see the screen they're watching — we only hear the soundtrack. Their reactions may tell us everything we need to know about the twists and turns of Shirin's tale.
Kiarostami's work has consistently pushed the boundaries of what movies can be, and "Shirin" may be his boldest, most radical and compelling experiment to date. Using just close-ups of a bevy of beautiful, expressive female faces (watch for French star Juliette Binoche) Kiarostami fashions a mesmerizingly romantic meditation on how great stories — and great films — transport us, and in the process, the director reveals the very face of human empathy. Don't be surprised if you find yourself wondering throughout if the group is even watching a film in a theater at all; the guessing game is half the fun. A stunningly original work, and a must for cinephiles everywhere.