Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Vern's review of "Circumstance" 2011.


Cast:  Sarah Kazemy, Nikohl Boosheri

Writer and Director:  Maryam Keshavarz

** and a 1/2 *'s out of four

The only thing I learned from this Sundance award winning film is that being a girl living in Iran really sucks. Especially for Atahaf(Nikohl Boosheri) and Shireen(Sarah Kazemy) who have developed an attraction for each other.  Being both gay and female in the middle east would bear the same problems that being both gay and black in the deep south would too.  I just wished writer/director Maryam Keshavarz would have had more of a structure to the plot of this because I didn't understand any of the character's motives until close to the end. 

Atahef and Shireen have been friends for a while and are starting to fall in love.  At nights they cruise the night clubs with their gay friends and visit  stores that sells movies and music that their government has banned.  Meanwhile Atahef's brother Mehran(Reza Sixo Safai) has gotten out of rehab and has become devoted to his religion.  He becomes upset at his sister and her friend for not behaving the way a woman should and joins a section of the government that wants to stop it.

(U.S. Theatrical Trailer)

Now if the movie would have explained better that these two girls are falling in love while the jealous brother seeks out to end it.  I would have been more involved in this.  I didn't even known that Mehran was even trying to marry Shireen.  Infact there are moments where it suggests that he may be gay also.  I'm not sure if this was a deliberate attempt from the director but I wouldn't be surprised.  Also when watching this I thought that Shireen, Atahaf, and Mehran were all siblings, and it looked liked there was  an insestual relationship happening between the three. The three of them all go to a beach with Atahef and Mehran's parents that made me think this.   After that confusion is over I was left with not really understanding how any of these characters felt about not only others but themselves.  When Shireen finaly gets married to Mehran it never explains why she would be so willing to give up her relationship with Atahaf.  I also felt that Mehran's reasoning for wanting to marry his sister's friends could have been better explained also.

(Sexy clip from "Circumstance")

The three young actors are quite good in their performances and it's a shame that the movie wasn't edited better because they could have shined in this. Sarah Kazemy and Nikohl Boosheri are both very beautiful and their scenes together are very hot. They alone kept me watching this whole thing. This is Maryam Keshavarz's first feature length movie and while she is very talented with her actors and their performances .  She needs to work on developing the plot and explain who the main character is so that audiences can better follow it.  I'm also upset that the subtitles were only used just for dialogue and not for any of the songs that a few key characters sang.  If I heard these songs I might have gotten a better explanation of what they are thinking.    There are some visual moments in this that really impressed me and I look forward to this director's next movie.  I just hope that she works on the story first before she beings shooting.

(Interview with the cast. )