29 August
Location informationArc Cinema
Event cost$12/$10 (season pass available)

Please note: this event has been cancelled while the NFSA is closed to the public, following directives from the ACT Government. Tickets to this event will be refunded; please wait to hear from our staff as they process cancellations. If you purchased tickets for this event in person or over the phone please contact tickets [at]

Ten is an illuminating and direct piece of cinema that focuses on the lives of contemporary Iranian women.

Premiering in Official Competition at the Cannes Film Festival, Ten centres on a chic divorcee (Mania Akbari) in Tehran. She drives her young son across town and, in between these encounters, she journeys with various female passengers. Each of the passengers provides an insight into the roles of, and attitudes toward, women in contemporary Iran.  

Kiarostami’s Ten exploited advances in digital technology to create an entirely new cinema that experimented with form and ‘the disappearance of direction’. Set entirely within the confines of a car and exploiting the size and portability of Mini DV (video) cameras, Kiarostami dispensed with a traditional crew and even himself as director. ‘In this form of cinema, the director is more like a football coach and has to do most of the work before the take starts’.  

Cars are a staple of Kiarostami’s films and after creating cinema largely void of female leads, the uniquely public-private space of the vehicle offered enormous narrative freedoms for his characters to explore the world. Moreover, by placing the actors side by side in the frame, Kiarostami achieved more naturalistic performances from his cast, resulting in a moving filmic experience.

‘A conceptual tour de force, Abbas Kiarostami's Ten goes from chilly abstraction to hot emotion in less than 60 seconds’ – The New York Times

Notes by Kristy Matheson – Director of Film, ACMI

See more films and season pass in our The Films of Abbas Kiarostami program

Presented by the NFSA in partnership with ACMI and the Sydney Film Festival.



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