Loading...

Bi-curious Girls in Tehran, in Circumstance 

Thursday, Aug 25 2011
Comments

Set in Tehran but filmed mainly in Beirut, Circumstance, Maryam Keshavarz's earnest, well-intentioned first feature on women's oppression in Iran, has trouble resisting its own heavy hand. In-love high schoolers Atafeh (Nikohl Boosheri), a daughter of privilege, and Shireen (Sarah Kazemy), living with her uncle and grandmother after the death of her regime-challenging intellectual parents, dream of escaping to Dubai, which, in their frequently cut-to fantasies, is a utopia of high-femme boîtes and chic hotel suites for Showtime-style sapphistry. The teenagers — who seek out clandestine centers of decadent pleasure where headscarves are discarded and immodest sequined party dresses are revealed — soon become the target of Mehran (Reza Sixo Safai), Atafeh's older brother, now a devout Muslim (and informer for the Morality Police) after years of drug addiction.

Keshavarz occasionally shows that she has the talent to make her points subtly: During a seaside outing that Atafeh takes with her family and Shireen, the camera lingers just long enough on a woman in a black jilbab, serving tea and snacks to three men clad only in swim briefs. More often, though, the writer-director re-emphasizes the obvious, especially when Mehran installs spy cams in every room of his parents' well-appointed house, observing the crimes against the theocratic state from his MacBook Pro. —Melissa Anderson (Landmark, Town Center)

click to enlarge Circumstance
  • Circumstance

Location Info

Related Stories

  • Picnic Shopping

    The word "picnic," fittingly derived from the French, evokes summer and leisure - and, most crucially, food. A beach picnic may just be the best kind of picnic, especially in L.A., where the options are plentiful. A picnic brings a level of festivity that is difficult to resist, whether on...
  • Discostan Features Music From "Beirut to Bangkok via Bombay"

    The strong smell of sandalwood-infused Indian Chandan Dhoop incense fills Arshia Haq's Echo Park apartment as she gets ready for the night. She has recently arrived back in the city after working on a music documentary in India and Pakistan, and the jet lag hasn't subsided - nor has that...
  • Rooting For Iran? 9

    Watching Iran play in the World Cup over the last few weeks, I found myself grappling with a series of contradictory emotions. As an Iranian-American who was born in the United States, at times I've wished that I could claim another heritage. Like the time in 2006, just months before...
  • Omid Mines Music From the Streets Of Iran

    Sample digging and oil drilling have more in common than you'd expect. As the casket drops on 2013, most surface-level treasure has long been picked clean. The odds of discovering an oil well in your backyard are only marginally better than those of browsing the funk, jazz and soul sections
  • 15 Innovative L.A. Designers

    Dwell on Design is a three-day pop-up theme park for professionals, amateurs and anyone else who's interested in the future of architecture and design. With over 30,000 visitors in 2014, DoD is the country's biggest design event, and the ninth annual edition returned to the Los Angeles Convention Center last weekend...
Reach the writer at melissaelaineanderson@gmail.com

Related Content

Related Locations

Now Showing

  1. Thu 10
  2. Fri 11
  3. Sat 12
  4. Sun 13
  5. Mon 14
  6. Tue 15
  7. Wed 16

    Find capsule reviews, showtimes & tickets for all films in town.

    Sponsored by Fandor

Box Office

Scores provided by Rotten Tomatoes

Join My Voice Nation for free stuff, concert and dining info & more!

Slideshows

  • 10 Movies You Should See This Summer
    The phrase "summer movies" will never not mean broad, action-driven crowd-pleasers to me: I counted the days until Batman (June 23, 1989), Terminator 2: Judgment Day (July 3, 1991), and Jurassic Park (June 11, 1993) were released. For every Dark Knight there are 10 Prometheuses — and that's just among the films that are actually trying to be good — but the hype and anticipation of summer movies remains a fun spectator sport. (More fun than sports, anyway.) Here, 10 from Memorial Day weekend and after for which I have, as the song says, high hopes. By Chris Klimek
  • Doc Docs: 8 Powerful Medical Documentaries
    Code Black is the latest in a string of powerful documentaries examining the domestic health care system's flaws and profiling its physicians, caretakers and patients. In this film -- which will be released in select theaters on June 20 -- the cameras are pointed at the nation's busiest emergency room, that of L.A. County Hospital. Here are seven moving medical docs. Click on the film name to read the full review.

    See also:
    35 Music Documentaries Worth Seeing

    15 Documentaries That Help You Understand the World Right Now
  • Wes Anderson's Grand Budapest Hotel in Lego
    A Lego replica of The Grand Budapest Hotel was unveiled this past Saturday, June 14, by builder Ryan Ziegelbauer and star of the film Tony Revolori at The Grove in L.A. Ziegelbaur and his team built the 7-foot, 150-pound structure from over 50,000 Lego bricks. The celebration was held in honor of the Blu-Ray and DVD release of Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel on June 17th by Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. All photos by Mary Bove.

Movie Trailers

View all movie trailers >>

Now Trending