Circumstance

"Excellent"

Circumstance Review


This provocative drama was far too hot to allow it to be made in Tehran, where the story is set. So filmmaker Keshavarz instead shot it in Lebanon, which gave her the freedom to explore themes forbidden in Iranian cinema. Fortunately, she takes an even-handed approach that never preaches, presenting a resonant side of Iran's society that we have never before seen on screen.

It centres on Atafeh (Noosheri), a teenager who lives with her liberal musician parents (Parsa and Pakkho) in upper-class Tehran. When her older brother Mehran (Safai) returns home after years of drug abuse, the family worries about his newfound devout Muslim faith. Meanwhile, Atafeh spends most nights partying with her poorer best friend Shireen (Kazemy). They meet a couple of guys (Mohajeri and Amedson) and help them dub Sean Penn's Oscar-winning film Milk into Farsi to distribute on the black market. And they also start to fall in love with each other. With the morality police on the prowl, they dream of escaping to live somewhere that's free.

Iran's censors would never have allowed Keshavarz to depict a lesbian romance amid the underground youth culture of illicit music, movies and drugs.

Intriguingly, she depicts all of this within the strongly religious culture, which vividly highlights the contrast between Atafeh's open-minded parents and Shireen's much more restrictive guardians, who present her with a string of suitable husbands to choose from. Alongside this we also see Mehran's growing fundamentalism, echoing the way the leaders are shutting down what was once a vibrant society.

The film never overstates any of this, merely telling a personal love story in this context and letting us understand the pressures on Atafeh and Shireen as they long for a future together. Sometimes this takes the form of a gentle comment or warm conversation, while other scenes involve much more frightening encounters with cops and judges. Through all of this, the cast members deliver naturalistic performances that help us identify with the characters. In many ways, the pressures these girls face are no different than anywhere else on earth. And "true believers" who see the world in black and white are terrifying wherever they are.

Rich Cline



Circumstance

Facts and Figures

Run time: 107 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 8th February 2012

Box Office USA: $0.5M

Distributed by: Roadside Attractions

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 86%
Fresh: 62 Rotten: 10

IMDB: 5.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Maryam Keshavarz

Producer: Karin Chien, Maryam Keshavarz

Starring: as Atafeh, as Shireen, as Mehran, Soheil Parsa as Firouz

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Free State of Jones Movie Review

Free State of Jones Movie Review

Since its true story is still so timely after some 150 years, we can forgive...

Deepwater Horizon Movie Review

Deepwater Horizon Movie Review

This reunion of actor Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg feels like a natural successor...

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children Movie Review

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children Movie Review

Ransom Riggs' bestselling novel is appropriately adapted into a movie by Tim Burton, the gothic...

Get Back Movie Review

Get Back Movie Review

Roger Appleton's documentary 'Get Back' looks into the music scene that come out of Liverpool....

Imperium Movie Review

Imperium Movie Review

First-time filmmaker Daniel Ragussis takes an unusual approach to this thriller. Since it's based on...

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

Like a 10-years-later follow-up to 28 Days Later, this small British thriller takes a refreshingly...

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

Director Antoine Fuqua brings his usual fascination with violence to this remake of the iconic...

Advertisement
Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

As it's been 12 years since the last Bridget Jones movie, expectations aren't too high...

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

A-list director Ron Howard worked with the surviving Beatles to assemble this engaging documentary, which...

Blair Witch Movie Review

Blair Witch Movie Review

It's been 17 years since The Blair Witch Project shook up the cinema and created...

Anthropoid Movie Review

Anthropoid Movie Review

Outside the Czech Republic, few people know about Operation Anthropoid, a spy mission in 1943...

Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

From Laika (The Boxtrolls), this is one of the most beautiful, sophisticated animated films in...

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

An offbeat comedy-drama with a timely kick, this charming family road trip takes on some...

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Sicario screenwriter Taylor Sheridan delivers another fiercely intelligent, engaging story that maintains high suspense while...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.