Maryam Keshavarz | Iran, Lebanon, USA | 2011 | 108’ | Persian spoken, Dutch subtitles | Distribution: Cinemien
In the teen drama Circumstance the Iranian American filmmaker Maryam Keshavarz plays with taboos of modern-day Iran. The film won this year's Sundance Film Festival Audience Award.
Sixteen-year-old Atafeh is the daughter of a wealthy liberal family, her best friend Shireen, her deceased parents were pronouncedly anti-government, now lives with her uncle and grandmother. Together they try to stand up to the world around them. They explore the subculture of Tehran’s underground club scene, dream of a carefree life in wealthy Dubai and gradually discover their mutual attraction.
When Atafeh’s brother, Mehran, is released from drug rehab, he vehemently renounces his former life and joins the morality police. Mehran becomes more hard-line Islam by the day and is obsessed by the relationship between his sister and Shireen. In these oppressive circumstances everyone tries to hold their ground. Unsurprisingly, this is easier said than done.
Keshavarz touches upon several extremely sensitive boundaries of Iranian society, which is why she was forced to shoot her film in Lebanon.