Tuesday, August 02, 2011

CIRCUMSTANCE (Maryam Keshavarz, 2011)

***
France/USA/Iran

Two pillow-lipped Persian variations on Natalie Portman play out a love story against the backdrop of Tehran's privileged classes and undergruond clubs. Underground clubs in this context doesn't refer to a chic-squalid place where you are encouraged to wear the clothes your mother kept from the 80s - rather, a place where "sewing class" is the code word and the headscarf-shedding, hip-thrusting youth goes to snort, dance and hide from the morality police.

Does a difficult shoot and honourable intentions render a contrived romance into something worthwhile? Partially, yes. The glimpses into the above-mentioned underground clubs and things like video stores tucked in behind barbershop fronts make the story - which ultimately amounts to a nonsensical soap opera - much more absorbing than it should be.

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