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Uncle Barb's

I was told I had an over abundance of original sin.

-Susan Sarandon-


Circumstance (2011)


I saw this film last night and it has ruined my whole day. I keep thinking "How can my biggest worry be whether to eat 60% or 72% chocolate, when women in the world are suffering such oppression? I want to be toppling empires, instead I work in my garden."

This film made by Maryam Keshavarz, who has moved out of Iran, will leave you gasping for comprehension of the oppression against women. The women have to sneak into the ocean for a swim. They are not even allowed to swim in the ocean! On the flip side, she has filmed a dynamic sexual relationship between women.

I read many reviews of the film before attempting this one. Native Iranian reviewers for the most part did not like the film. They criticized the representation of Iran, criticized the accents, the details, but not one said that it was a poor representation of the condition of women. Instead they said things like, there are not cars like that in Iran. Wow.

One of the characters in the film is a young man educated at Harvard, who returns as an activist for positive change in the country. He puts out bootleg dvds of American movies dubbed into Persian. The project he works on in the film combines Sex & the City, to get their attention and MILK, to demonstrate positive activism. He is ultimately imprisoned and executed.

Then this morning's news is full of the American Taliban like Erick Erickson (FOX commentator) who gleefully tells liberals that they had better stock up on coat hangers because the abortion bans are going through.  All the anti-woman sentiment in our country is not so far removed from the oppression of women in other countries.

The coverart for this film boasts "An Outrageously Sexy Movie", I'm assuming to sell it. The women are beautiful, the sex is hot and passionate, but this is not a sexy movie. Rather it is a heartbreaker.

Circumstance is a powerful, well made film. As someone with no experience of Iran, I am not able to judge its veracity in depicting the country, but as a woman and a lesbian, I am well aware of the many headed beast of patriarchy.


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