This week’s Out on Screen feature is Circumstance, winner of the 2011 Sundance Film Festival Audience Award. Set in contemporary Iran, in the unseen world of underground youth clubs and parties, the film tells the story of wealthy Atafeh and orphaned Shireen, whose passion for personal freedom and for each other leads to unforeseen consequences for themselves and their loved ones.
Circumstance marks the directorial debut of Maryam Keshavarz (pictured below). Since filming in Tehran would have put the film’s Iranian cast and crew at risk, Keshavarz shot the film in an undercover production in Beirut, Lebanon. The director’s fast-paced, sensual style forged a powerfully relevant tale of young people who risk arrest (and worse) in the name of love and freedom.
Although the story is not autobiographical, Keshavarz was inspired to tell this story to honor these young Iranian rebels: “Whenever I go out in Iran, I’ve been in awe of their bravery, and I’m especially in awe of the women, because they’re so much more vulnerable, especially when it comes to arrest and interrogation.”
For more on Circumstance, check out these links:
Jonah Flicker, Paste Magazine
Interview with Maryam Keshavarz: