• Director/Writer: Abbas Kiarostami
  • Principle Actors: Mania Akbari, Amin Maher, and Kamran Adl

The Story

  • About everyday life (in Iran)
  • Broken into 10 segments, with bells, like a boxing match
  • Set entirely in a car
    • The car holds the actors (or passengers) and, subsequently, the audience captive to the telling of the story
  • The film positions the viewer to see & accept reality as it really is
  • Entices the viewer into reflection
  • No need for “special” moments (due to the “realism”)
  • More than telling a prescribed Hollywood story
  • The importance lies in the humans (actors) and their souls

Script & Idea

  • Generally, Kiarostami captures his idea on a half page of paper
  • Then he develops it to 3 pages and determines if it is viable

The Idea

  • Told to him by a friend
    • A woman psychologist’s office is shut down because a female client divorced her husband based on the advice given to her by the psychologist…the client reports the psychologist and the government closes her office…the client regrets her report…thus, the psychologist sees patients in her car.
    • The idea was scrapped because psychologists generally listen, so the dialogue would be a one-sided monologue…however, the idea revived itself a few years later and became “TEN”


A Car, Kiarostami’s favorite setting

  • Cars are confining cells
  • Most important conversations in life take place inside a car
  • Characters are next to one another, alone or they may turn to the other to acknowledge the conversation or the other’s presence
  • These intimate and private spaces can demonstrate suffocation & stress
  • This atmosphere is appropriate to the protagonist in TEN
  • Traffic can add tensions and elevate emotions
  • Cars are small and limit the physical expressions of the actor

Directing & The Video Camera


  • 2 angles – 2 lenses
  • Mounted on the dashboard of the car
  • Kiarostami discovered the video camera in TASTE OF CHERRY (epilogue)
    • He used rushes from the behind the scenes footage to finish TASTE OF CHERRY
    • From this he noticed the actors’ reactions were more natural and spontaneous
  • Since Kiarostami’s aim (aesthetically) is natural & real cinema, this intrigued him
    • His “natural” aesthetic leads him to make little or no changes in the natural setting – to be faithful to nature & human nature
  • Kiarostami states that 35mm cameras create artificial performances
    • To combat this, Kiarostami has eliminated clapboards, reduced crew size & refrained from using “director” words like “action” & “cut”
  • Basically, Kiarostami feels people aren’t as good in films as they are in real life

The Director

  • Additionally, Kiarostami has been making efforts to eliminate the directing
  • He does not mean to eliminate the auteur – just the director
  • He believes DV helps deter the clichés, pretensions, and traditions of cinema
  • DV provides relief and freedom from the capital and censorship that imprisons cinema
  • Like an author or visual artist, he can work alone and reduces dependence on the large number of skills one needs to make a film
  • In TEN, he, for the first time, uses DV deliberately
  • In TEN, he also removes himself from the scene…sending the actors off to create the scene in the car, while he waits for their return
    • Through discussions with his individual actors, they come to an understanding of the scene and their character
    • He then places them in the car, turns on the cameras, and waits for their return
  • Like a soccer coach who places his team on the field for a game…he coaches