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The Psychology of The Apple (1998): Abusive Paternalism

Note: This article goes in-depth into an analysis of The Apple‘s various plot points and subtexts. As a result, it is littered with spoilers. You have been warned.

Additional Note: This is a multi-page article. The links to the succeeding pages can sometimes get buried at the bottom of the page.

 

The Apple is the feature film debut from then 18-year-old Iranian director Samira Makhmalbaf. An influential cog in the machine of Iranian New Wave, as well as part of a family of filmmakers (her father is equally influential director Mohsen Makhmalbaf), Samira Makhmalbaf’s first film delves into the nuanced world of children raised in isolation in a docudrama style. Using a real-life family as both actor and subject, Makhmalbaf captures on film a fictional reality of two children first entering society at the age of 12 at the same time that the real-life children were first engaging with the world outside their home.

 

I. Fiction as a Means of Conveying Reality

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A BFI review of The Apple by John Mount correctly comments that the film focuses “firmly on its subject rather than on its making,” in an industry climate when Continue reading The Psychology of The Apple (1998): Abusive Paternalism