- Film Festival
As promised, Maryam Keshavarz along with lead actor, Reza Sixo Safai, returned to give our PFS audience a Q & A after the re-screening of her film Circumstance.
IHouse Theater was packed. I've never sat so far up in the bleachers and more than half the audience remained for the Q & A moderated by Roya Rastegar, which allowed us more than a behind the scenes look at the film, it also provided an education of the restrictions placed on society in Iran.
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 (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.
Q & A Excerpt
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 Link below:
(No need to download, just hit the play button on 4 Shared.com site)