3 Faces

2018 [PERSIAN]


Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh98%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright69%
IMDb Rating7.1103965

Plot summary

Uploaded by: FREEMAN


Top cast

Jafar Panahi Photo
Jafar Panahi as Jafar Panahi
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
924.96 MB
Persian 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 40 min
P/S 2 / 8
1.86 GB
Persian 5.1
23.976 fps
1 hr 40 min
P/S 2 / 9

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Teyss8 / 10

Another tour-de-force by banned director


"Three faces" seems realistic but this realism is an illusion: the movie is metaphorical. The form itself looks simple but is finely designed. Just a few examples:

  • Nightfall is accelerated, there is complete continuity between day and night.
  • The path leading to the old actress Shahrzad's home is lit at night, which is incredible outside this small village but allows to see characters going to and from the house.
  • There never is off-screen music (realism),except at the very end, which increases the emotional impact by its uniqueness.
The reason for these choices, amongst others, is to convey continuity in everything we see: situations, characters, emotions (on this, more below).

Regarding content, "Three faces" is structured as a classical tragedy:
  • Unity of time: slightly more than 24 hours: two nights and a day.
  • Unity of place: a small village, except at the beginning.
  • Unity of action: searching for a girl who committed suicide... or not.
Unity of place is especially notable: the village encompasses a whole universe. Granted, at the beginning we are on the road, yet remarkably we never go out of the car: even when actress Jafari or director Panahi walk out of the car, the camera stays inside to follow them. Hence the car is already a transition to another world: we do not see where both characters come from or travel through. There is just one exception: when Panahi fetches water; however then we already are in the village environment. Note how he then symbolically washes his windshield before arriving: we will have an immaculate, unprejudiced view of a new environment, since many shots occur through the windshield.


The village is a universe in itself: nobody apart from Jafari and Panahi arrive or leave. We hear cars blowing their horn but, remarkably, we never see them (only exception: the final ironic shot of the trucks carrying cows to be inseminated by a legendary bull... who is dead). It seems we cannot leave the place: a dying bull blocks the unique narrow road; the final shot is completely still on the road as if Panahi's car were not moving out. During this final shot, beautiful off-screen music rises for the first time: the specific environment reaches a universal dimension.

Ever-important events happen in the village: birth (the circumcised son, insemination by the bull),death (the potential suicide, the old lady in her grave),a wedding, philosophical talks about life. All generations are present, notably represented by the three generations of actresses: the young Marziyeh, the famous Jafari, the old Shahrzad. There are mysteries: did Marziyeh really kill herself? Where is she? What will happen to her at the end? Why is her brother so violent, is he insane? Who is Shahrzad? The latter remains mysterious: we will only see her from far away. There are many ellipses, the last one being ironical: at one point Marziyeh's brother carries a heavy stone close to Panahi's car... and a few shots later we see the cracked windshield from inside. Last, villagers mostly speak Turkish, not Farsi, which Jafari cannot understand. All these mysteries have a meaning: we can only understand little of this recluse world.

Behind the depiction, the movie delivers a political message: these remote places are abandoned by the state. People complain about utilities failures and lack of doctors and veterinaries. Mentality also is backwards: women cannot do men's work; they cannot study what they want; they mostly stay home; Shahrzad is an outcast; a man has several wives. But the movie does not stigmatise villagers: they are also welcoming. At the beginning, an old man blows Panahi's car horn many times: we think it is a joke... but discover afterwards if was precisely to let the car pass easily. Villagers offer tea, food, telephone call, shelter, etc.


Which bring us back to the above-mentioned continuity: the movie flows with the two main characters going from one place to another, by car or walking. It actually is a road-movie even though most of the action occurs in one place. The flow is also ethical: we cannot decide if the villagers are to be blamed (for their backward ideology) or praised (for their friendliness). We move from one feeling to an opposite one. Notably:
  • Three men come to Panahi by night to offer him shelter, clothing and a blanket. This is kind... yet when they go away after he refuses, they say without compassion: "If there is hail, that will teach him (...) These townspeople, they think they know better."
  • The old man's superstition about his son's prepuces is at the same time eccentric and respectable (there are worse beliefs).
  • We hesitate between blaming Marziyeh for her fake suicide or pitying her for having to go to that extremity: Jafari also experiences both feelings. The movie carries neither prejudice nor definite judgement.

Nonetheless, despite all its qualities, the movie is not a masterpiece. Notably, it is too literal: we stick to the action and the cinematography could be more compelling. Just one example: when the bull is lying on the road at then end, we see him from far away. Closer shots would have rendered the scene more gripping: we could have been closer to the bull not only as a metaphor but also as a being. The movie shows obvious references to Abbas Kiarostami, who died in 2016 and for whom Panahi originally was an assistant director: quasi-documentary style, road-movie, remote village, life and death, unusual encounters, etc. Yet we can imagine how the master Kiarostami would have taken the same plot to another level.

Probably, the limited resources and clandestine shooting the movie was forced to adopt partly explain the sometimes lack of bigger-than-life dimension. Considering the filming ban Panahi has to compose with, "Three Faces" remains an impressive esthetical tour-de-force. Let us hope he will still be able to shoot and, hopefully some day, to do so without constraint.

Reviewed by paul-allaer8 / 10

Jafar Panahi's latest "this is not a film" film

"3 Faces" (2018 release from Iran; 100 min.) brings the story of Behnaz Jafari, a popular Iranian actress (and playing herself in this film). As the movie opens, a teenage girl posts an Instagram addressed to Jafari, where she seemingly hangs herself, distraught at the fact that her family won't let her study at an art school in Tehran. Jafari and a friend (director Panahi, playing himself) decide to searches for the girl... At this point we're 10 min. into the movie but to tell you more of the plot would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.

Couple of comments: this is the latest movie from writer-director Jafar Panahi, who in 2010 was banned by the Iranian authorities from making any more movies. Panahi's excellent 2011 movie "This Is Not a Film" was the first to be made during that ban, and "3 Faces" is the 4th. Working on a micro-budget and at great personal risk, Panahi and his crew nevertheless manage to brings us a riveting film about what life in rural Iran is really like., and the cost in terms of the human condition. In other words, this is the perfect opposite of the latest Marvel superhero movie. Given the plot-heavy nature of the movie, I can't say much more.

"3 Faces" premiered at this year's Cannes film festival to universal acclaim, and Panahi won (in absentia, of course) the festival's Best Screenplay award. I'd say the chances of this movie getting an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Movie are pretty good too. I happen to catch this film during a recent family visit in Belgium. The early evening screening where I saw this at in Antwerp, Belgium was not attended well (exactly 5 people, myself included). Regardless, if you are in the mood for a top notch foreign film that was made despite a ban on the director, I'd readily suggest you check this out, be it in the theater (if and when this reaches US theaters),on VOD, or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray, and draw your own conclusion.

Reviewed by lee_eisenberg6 / 10

road movie amid a ban

To the pantheon of road movies we can add Jafar Panahi's "Se rokh" ("3 Faces" in English),about an actress traveling across the country. Panahi plays himself in the movie. It's amazing that he managed to make the movie, as he's currently banned from making movies, due to depicting things that Iran's government finds inappropriate (such as "Offside", in which women try to attend a soccer game but get kept out of the stadium due to the sight of men in shorts).

Watching this movie, I got the feeling that life in Iran's hinterlands must be a miserable existence. It's not a great movie, but worth seeing as a look at people whom we don't often see.

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