Circumstance is a provocative coming-of-age story that cracks open the hidden, underground world of Iranian youth culture, where a young woman's most electrifying passions can become the most dangerous of secrets.
Special Features - Filmmakers' commentary, Making of, Theatrical trailer.
In another place and time, the young women of Circumstance
might have a bright future ahead of them, but in Tehran, they must pretend to be something they're not. Sixteen-year-old orphan Shireen (Sarah Kazemy) lives with her strict uncle, while Atafeh's loving parents have provided a comfortable home. Nonetheless, Atafeh's brother, Mehran (Reza Sixo Safai), has traded his classical music career for a crack habit. After a stint in rehab, though, Mehran rejects Western art, embraces Islam, helps out at a mosque--and spies on his family. While he struggles to stay clean and secure a wife, Shireen and Atafeh (Nikohl Boosheri) sneak out to drink and dance to rock and hip-hop with a couple of like-minded male friends. It gradually emerges that the feelings between the girls go deeper than friendship, and the two even participate in a project to dub Gus Van Sant's Milk
into Farsi in hopes that other Iranian youth will see the film and agitate for equal rights. After they get in trouble with the law, though, everything changes: Shireen's uncle pressures her to marry, and Atafeh finds her friend slipping away, so she comes up with a plan to solve all their problems at once. Filmed in Beirut, American-born writer-director Maryam Keshavarz's feature-film debut is pitched somewhere between My Son the Fanatic
and No One Knows About Persian Cats
. If less overtly political, she's equally sympathetic towards her protagonists and just as critical of the individuals and institutions that would stand in their way. --Kathleen C. Fennessy