Screened as part of NZIFF 2011

Circumstance 2011


Directed by Maryam Keshavarz

“The world of sex, drugs, and underground nightclubs in Iran provides the backdrop for Maryam Keshavarz’s lusty, dreamy take on the passionate teenagers behind the hijabs.” — San Francisco Bay Guardian

France / Iran / Lebanon / USA In Farsi with English subtitles
105 minutes

Director, Screenplay


Karin Chien
Maryam Keshavarz
Melissa M. Lee


Brian Rigney Hubbard


Andrea Chignoli


Gingger Shankar


Nikohl Boosheri (Atafeh)
Sarah Kazemy (Shireen)
Reza Sixo Safai (Mehran)
Soheil Parsa (Firouz)
Nasin Pakkho (Azar)
Sina Amedson (Hossein)
Keon Mohajeri (Joey)


Sundance, New Directors/New Films 2011


Audience Award (Dramatic), Sundance Film Festival 2011


“Risking jail and worse are the sassy, privileged Atafeh and the beautiful, orphaned Shireen, who, much like young women anywhere, just want to be free… The difference here is that they’re under constant, unnerving surveillance, in a country where more than 70 percent of the population is younger than 30. Nevertheless, within their mansion walls and without, beneath graffitied walls and undulating at intoxicating house parties, the two girls begin to fall in love with each other, as Atafeh’s handsome, albeit creepy older brother Mehran gazes on… Filmed underground in Beirut, with layers that permit both pleasure and protest… Circumstance viscerally transmits the realities and fantasies of Iranian young women on the verge.” — Kimberly Chun, San Francisco Bay Guardian