A search for a missing girl leads to a small Iranian village and sizable questions about the nation's patriarchal attitudes in 3 Faces, a lovely, ineffably moving meditation from writer-director Jafar Panahi. Deceptively slight, like much of his recent work, this modest drama slowly segues from a low-key mystery to a casual survey of how women especially actresses have been demonised by their countrymen. The fact that Panahi is currently subject to a 20-year travel ban only intensifies the gentle poignancy of 3 Faces: the empathy he feels for these subjugated women is palpable as well as personal. Well-known actress Behnaz Jafari is distraught by a provincial girl's video plea for help - oppressed by her family to not pursue her studies at the Tehran drama conservatory. Behnaz abandons her shoot and turns to filmmaker Jafar Panahi to help solve the mystery of the young girl's troubles. They travel by car to the rural northwest where they have amusing encounters with the charming folk of the girl's mountain village. But the city visitors soon discover that the protection of age-old traditions is as generous as local hospitality.
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