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

Hampstead Movie Review

Hampstead Movie Review

Deliberately appealing to older audiences, this undemanding comedy-drama comes with a hint of social relevance...

The Book of Henry Movie Review

The Book of Henry Movie Review

Apparently, this offbeat script had been making the rounds in Hollywood for some 20 years...

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

With this fifth Transformers movie, it seems clear that Michael Bay is still trying to...

Churchill Movie Review

Churchill Movie Review

This drama about the iconic British prime minister tells a darkly personal story set over...

Gifted Movie Review

Gifted Movie Review

This is one of those films that dances right up to the edge of soapy...

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Notorious British filmmaker Nick Broomfield teams up with Austrian music documentary producer Rudi Dolezal to...

The Mummy Movie Review

The Mummy Movie Review

To launch their new Dark Universe franchise, Universal has taken an approach that mixes murky...

Advertisement
My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

Daphne du Maurier's 1951 mystery-romance novel has been adapted for theatre, radio, TV and film,...

Wilson Movie Review

Wilson Movie Review

It's never helpful when a comedy becomes a bit too smug about its own quirkiness....

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

A fictionalised story from the life of Wolfgang Mozart, this lavishly produced period drama is...

The Hippopotamus Movie Review

The Hippopotamus Movie Review

This British satirical comedy may be a bit of a mess, but since it's based...

Detour Movie Review

Detour Movie Review

This may look like a rather typical American indie thriller, but British filmmaker Christopher Smith...

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Boldly optimistic, this action-packed adventure breathes fresh life into the DC universe with a welcome...

Baywatch Movie Review

Baywatch Movie Review

Clearly, it's a risky proposition adapting a cheesy vintage TV series for the big screen:...

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.