Commentary - Circumstance (Director, Maryam Keshavarz Q &A)

Friday, May 20, 2011

Circumstance was shot in Lebanon, due to matters of safety and restriction from the morality police, it would have been impossible to shoot the film in Iran.  The film is a fictional narrative, a glimpse into a family's wants, desires and relationships.

(see earlier blog post with additional information on the making of the film).

Atafeh (Nikohl Boosheri) is a spunky girl of 16, she possesses a cute but sultry, expressive face; and eyes that dance with a sense of mischief and zest for life. 

Her best friend and constant companion, Shireen (Sarah Kazemy) is more reserved and classically beautiful. Her parents are deceased, it's alluded to that they were intellectual rebels and may have been killed for political reasons. In a society where everyone is so closely watched,clout and standing allow you more basic freedoms or at least less dire consequences, should you be suspected of anything; the questionable circumstances surrounding Shireen's parents, before their death, places her in a very fragile position.

Atafeh and Shireen's friendship escalates to a physical expression of their fondness for each other. These girls are really too young to make judgments on their sexual orientation. This exploration may be done as part rebellion, part experimentation and part comfort.  

Mehran (Reza Sixo Safai )  is Atafeh's older brother freshly home from rehab. Mehran and Atafeh grew up in a secular household, but Mehran's need to find control in his life leads him to the Muslim religion and a further conversion to even more regulated involvements.

 Their mother and father are for the most part modern, wealthy and liberal. It's a very musical household, with a good deal of closeness, despite the mistrust the father feels towards Mehran, fearing he'll return to drug use.

Although the film deals with the restrictions placed on those living in Iran, it is not a political film. Instead it does a good job of depicting the small moments added together to tell a bigger story.

Excerpt of Q & A with filmmaker Maryam Keshavarz, lead actor, Reza Sixo Safai moderated by Roya Rastegar.  Not just a behind the scenes look at the film, but an education of the restrictions placed on society in Iran:

Q: What was your impetus for making the film?

A: I always write from things that are personal. The young girls are kinda based on myself and my cousins that live in Iran - being young and navigating the underworld. Although, I'm a bit geeky and a nerd, so I was always amazed at the things that my cousins would do, like going to parties, when this is illegal. Their mentality is to find anyway they can to express their freedom.

A cont: My Uncles studied at MIT, but they went back to Iran during the revolution and ended up getting stuck there. But they're very, very liberal and opened minded; so I started thinking, their kids are much younger, but what will it be like when these children become teenagers - how do you teach freedom of thought, freedom of expression, in an environment that doesn't allow that? So that was the impetus for the family...

To LISTEN to the Q & A in it's entirety CLICK the Player below
(Player will take you to file hosting site. No need to download file, just hit the play button on the site)

Circumstance will be released August 13, 2011 nationwide.

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is about discovering what I find pleasing in screening & eating - in case you missed it, the name is a play on Tinseltown using the Tines of a Fork.

Feel free to send me info on a film or new restaurant you'd like me to highlight.

Will there ever be a cap on movie prices?

Will we one day pay $20 a pop?

Why don't we pay on a scale?

A crap movie like everything Adam Sandler has ever done should cost about $4.50.
Big action movies like"Lord of the Rings", "Iron Man," "Transformers" are worth $10.
Woody Allen movie or something like "Silver Linings Playbook" $6-$7.
A chick flick or light comedy $5.75 and most Indie Films $5.25.

You could even do it by seasons - all summer block busters from May to August - $10
Sept - November 15th $3.50 - $4
Back to $10 for Thanksgiving and Christmas etc...

Or you can do it by A Actors ($9 - $10), B Actors ($6 - $7) TV actors on the big screen ($3.50 - $4)

Surely I'm not the first person to realize this makes sense. Has it been voted on in the Motion Picture Industry and then vetoed? If so, why?

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