The Circle - 2000
Directed by Jafar Panahi
Interlocking tales show the plight of contemporary Iranian women and the oppression that they endure from their families, their government, and the cultural norms of the patriarchal society in which they live.
Color, 1 hour 31 minutes, Farsi
Original Title: Dayereh
Firouzan Rank # 9
|Maryam Parvin Almani|
|Fereshteh Sadr Orafai|
|Director of Photography||Bahram Badakhshani|
|Sound Recordist||Sasan Bagherpour
|Production Designer||Iraj Raminfar|
|Sound Mixer||Mehdi Dejbodi|
A child is born with the minor inconvenience of being a girl.
Recently out of prison, these former cell mates find difficulty in something as simple as boarding a bus.
Viewing a painting of the "paradise" to which they hope to travel.
It is difficult to obtain a bus ticket without a student ID or a man's presence and approval.
A woman is thrown out of her house by her brothers because she is pregnant out of wedlock.
Hitching a ride with an old friend and her husband's "number 2" wife.
Begging her friend to ask her doctor husband to help her get an abortion.
Watching the scene after abandoning her child in hopes of her finding a better family.
A prostitute's ride to prison.
By Joshua Tanzer Offoffoff.com
As "The Circle" opens, we're in an Iranian maternity ward at the moment of a not-so-blessed event -- the birth of a child. The family has been the victim of a medical deception, they realize, when a nurse tells the new grandmother that her daughter has just had an adorable baby girl.
"A girl!" cries the distraught woman. "The ultrasound said it was a boy! The relatives will be furious -- they'll insist on a divorce!"
Confusingly, this is the last we see of this situation. The film follows one woman after another in a chain of stories focusing on women's plight in Iran. Continued
By Peter Rainer New York Magazine
The women in the Iranian movie "The Circle" are all fugitives. Two of them, on temporary leave from prison, attempt to flee; a friend of theirs who has escaped prison tries unsuccessfully to get an abortion; another woman is shown abandoning her child on the streets of Tehran; and yet another is picked up for prostitution. The stories of these disparate lives dovetail into one another, and all are given equal weight. Because of government-censorship restrictions, quite a few Iranian movies have centered on childhood rather than adult themes. In "The Circle," which is banned in Iran, the enforced society of women is, in effect, a community of adults treated as children. (Women in Tehran are not even allowed to stay outside on their own.) The film's director, Jafar Panahi, gives each of the stories a resonance, even though they are little more than linked vignettes. The ordeals these women endure are made to seem like microcosms of suffering. Panahi holds his camera on the women's faces for extended periods, and their misery and resolution come through with the force of accusation. No wonder the film has been banned.
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