Samira Makhmalbaf is the world's number one female filmmaker. I have no qualms in giving her that accolade. In the pantheon of great female filmmakers working today there are many greats - Catherine Breillat, Lynne Ramsay, Jane Campion, Lucrecia Martel, Kathryn Bigelow, Kelly Reichardt - but Samira Makhmalbaf stands alone. No one has such a pure, direct cinematic eye. You get the sense that Makhmalbaf, like her father before her, sees in cinematic images. Her cinema seems so natural, so powerful and yet utterly casual and enjoyable.
Iran has one of the worlds most interesting film movements. In Makhmalbaf, they have a filmmaker with, one senses, a vision of what cinema should be. "The Apple" is a film, quite unlike any other, in which Makhmalbaf has completely revolutionised the idea of the movie "based upon real events". Her movie compels the viewer not to judge, just as she does not judge the parents in the story, which makes it all the more moving, perhaps. Her genius as a filmmaker, her maturity as an artist is all the more remarkable when one considers that she was just 17 years old when she made this, her early masterpiece. A unique cinematic artist.