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on 23 June 2000
Families are massively important. Seventeen year old Samira Makhmalbaf is following her father's, Mohsen, vocation in becoming a highly regarded film director. He also wrote the screenplay for 'The Apple' in which twelve year old twins, Zahra and Massoumeh, have been virtually imprisoned in their own home by their impoverished father and blind mother. Neighbours complained that the children had not bathed and could not speak. Makhmalbaf shows the twins attempting to function beyond their parents' wall after social workers have intervened. Their legs are so skinny that they can barely walk; this could be due to lack of practice or malnourishment. They lack social skills to the extent of being unaware that they have to pay for food.
What makes the film remarkable is that it is based on a true incident and uses the family involved. It seems staggering that the father agreed to participate, although he is portrayed as misguided rather than intentionally cruel. His comments reflect how girls are treated differently to boys in traditional Iranian society: 'God made woman for her to marry' and 'My daughters are like flowers. They mustn't be exposed to the sun or they would soon fade'. Yet this mock documentary refuses to condemn and therein lies its power. Even though the mother is seen swearing at her husband and the social worker, it is easy to muster sympathy seeing her terror when she goes out alone and a child dangles an apple in front of her.
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on 5 January 2002
The Apple is an outstanding drama-documentary. The 'real' actors in The Apple make the film unforgettable. The sad yet true 'story' makes me laugh with tears.
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on 17 June 2005
I believe that this movie is the debut film of Samira Makhmalbaf. The entire movie of 'The Apple' is fascinating, yes some would say slow in parts and infuriating in others but riveting viewing none the less. The story line comes over as slightly disturbing but well thought out, witty and intelligent. Initially it looks like a docu-drama and I guess that is the role of this film, in a place where social statements and the plight of women are kept under wraps.
One of the coolest things about this feature is it is based on a true story and the characters are played by themselves.
Brilliant! It's a welcome change from the Hollywood garbage we are subjected to.
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on 6 August 2001
This is one of those films that expands in the mind after you have seen it. The storyline is simple, following two girls who have been locked up throughout their lives and are now set free into the city. And yet, the poor father and blind mother who locked the children inside are sympathetically portrayed. Themes of poverty, isolation and deprivation are subtly explored as the two sisters wander around learning how to play with other children, playing with mirrors, ice-cream and apples.
This is a film which is charming and has much natural humour. It is compassionate and above all, shows us something visually through the medium of film which couldn't have been expressed in any other way. Wonderful.
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on 7 January 2012
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.
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on 22 February 2007
i watched this whilst i was studying film studies at college and i found this very interesting to watch and as its a true story it really shows you how other people in the world live. it shows the two sisters themselves no actresses to play them, and how they live their life at 12years old. being locked up by their father they have developed language problems and find it difficult to understand others and speak. it is documentary like but very interesting and i would definitely recommend.
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on 12 January 2016
This film was directed by Samira Makhmalbaf, from the outstanding film family led by her father, who helped her get this film done when she was still a teenager. Her sister, Hana, has also made one film. The world should know more about these international films which are records of how life really is for the average person at the bottom of the pile in Iran, Kurdistan and Afghanistan today - filmically so beautifully observed. Such films are oblique gestures deliberately pointing up the way religion has become restrictive superstition, keeping half the population imprisoned (not just physically but mentally and spiritually). Given the difficult conditions of their work environment, this is only one of four films by this director - who by now should have blessed us with hundreds more in the same vein. Art can do more than politics!
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on 4 February 2011
One of the greatest films from Iran. It constantly challenges you to make up your mind about what next. When you do, you realise that you should have waited till the end. When the end comes, it is never the end as you guessed it.

Stunning and painful realism. Iranian film making at its best.
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on 2 May 2016
Amazing film! Slow for those who prefer action and a faster pace - but with too much speed many subtle details of life are lost. This is an extraordinary story giving insight into another culture, different attitudes, ways of seeing and how changes can gently come about through the influences of others.
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on 17 April 2014
Based on a true story and starring the very same people involved in it, this movie (by first time director Samira Makhmalbaf) tells the story of Zahra and Massoumef, twelve year old twins living on a very humble neighborhood in Tehran. Virtually imprisoned in their own home by their impoverished, ignorant, fundamentalist father and blind mother, they were freed by Iran social services after neighbours complained that the children had not bathed and could not speak. Makhmalbaf shows the twins attempting to function beyond their parents' wall after the social workers have intervened. Their lack social skills is such that they don't know that they have to pay for food. Made when she was just 17 years old (probably with some help from her father, the acclaimed Iranian director Mohsen Makhmalbaf) this film stands very well in the Iranian tradition of social realist, humanist cinema that came out beginning in the mid 1980s. It’s so moving, it will be hard for you not to cry while watching it.
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