1 min

Iranian girls in love

BY NOREEN FAGAN – Circumstance is the
little independent film that could. It premiered at the 2011 Sundance
Festival and is now on the mainstream circuit in the United States.

It tells the story of two teen girls, best friends who fall
in love. Simple enough, but the girls live in Iran, and the subject of
homosexuality, is, as we all know, taboo.

Part of what makes the film so interesting is the lengths to which the
director, Maryam Keshavarz, went in making it. An article on indiewire.com tells of Keshavarz having to cut off contact with
family members in Iran to protect them after the government banned the film, sight unseen.
Circumstance was filmed in Lebanon, rather than Tehran, where it is set,
to protect the film crew.

Keshavarz, who grew up going back and forth between Iran and
the US, was inspired to make the film after seeing Iranian youth escape
government tyranny by embracing the underground scene. In her words, these youth
had “so few choices, and if you really want to be true to who you are, you have
to fight for it.”

Keshavarz seems wary of labelling the film in
any way.

She shies away from saying it’s political, although by
addressing the subject of homosexuality in Iran, it is. She is also reluctant to
call it a lesbian film. On one hand, that is not surprising because most lesbian
films are so badly acted, but it is about two women falling in love —
and in my eyes that is pretty much a lesbian film.


It takes a gutsy director to make a film about
women taking a leap into the unknown in a country that is not willing to accept
any deviation from a tightly controlled, highly religious society.

Circumstance will hit Canadian screens
in October.


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