Synopsis by Clarke Fountain
The thin distinction between fiction and reality comes in for some blurring in this fact-based near-documentary. Learning of a major earthquake, the director of a children's movie, Where Is My Friend's Home?, is worried about two of his performers in that film. He sets out with his son to interview the survivors and learn the fate of his two acquaintances. However, he hires locals to play himself and his son and hires local earthquake survivors to play other earthquake survivors. When his alter-egos discover the actors, they are two people who have been hired to impersonate the two men. Even though every story told by the filmmaker is accurate, as are the settings and scenes of devastation, everything is just one step away from reality. Even unsympathetic reviewers saw some saving grace in this self-conscious posturing, in that it is aware of itself; as one old man says: "They told me to say this was my house, but my real home was destroyed in the quake." In addition to coy games played with reality, the film is a moving testament to the will to survive and get on with life, as it shows refugees crowded into a tent to cheer a soccer game being shown on television. Director Abbas Kiarostami has explored the blurred line between fiction and reality before in his well-received film Close-Up, a true story about a man who was arrested for impersonating a movie director, featuring all the real-life participants in a slightly fictionalized re-telling of the events.
actor, devastation, director, earthquake, reality