I went to the Auckland International Film Festival recently, and saw new films by Ken Loach, Tian Zhuangzhuang and Mike Leigh. They were all good films, but not as good as work they've done in the past. The exception was Abbas Kiarostami's 10. Not only was it the best film I saw at the festival, it's right up there with his best work. It's not as beautiful or lyrical as Through the Olive Trees or the Wind Will Carry Us, it doesn't have his serene (and often moving) use of landscape, but in terms of story it's as insightful as anything he's done. It's even more minimalistic than Taste of Cherry, (the entire story takes place inside a car), and even more inventive in terms of narrative (it's structured around 10 car rides and the conversations that take place). As a whole, it explores, "the lives of Iranian women through the accumulated details of everyday conversation," (All Movie Guide), but for me, the heart of the story is the relationship between the driver, Mania Akbari, and her young argumentative son, Amin. Amin is angry that his mother divorced his father and married someone else. Thorough the course of the film, Amin moves from being incredibly insightful for his age, to parroting prejudices and attitudes he could've only heard from his father or other adults, to being a right little shit at times. The way Akbari handled her son, despite her apprehensions that he was becoming mean (or that her husband was turning him against her) was at times so gentle. She's a bold, modern Iranian woman, strikingly beautiful, who at first using too much zest in trying to convince her moody son that her divorce was for the best. Later, when family have decided that it would be best for Amin to live with his father, the way she tries to forge a relationship between them out of their tense car rides was really moving. There's a whole lot more to the story than just that, but that's what moved me the most. Just a really small story about simple human truths that have much bigger consequences outside the car. I was pretty happy to be let in on the conversations.