Lolitas in Tehran

Set in Tehran, Circumstance is Maryam Keshavarz’s earnest, well-intentioned first feature about women’s oppression in Iran. In-love high-schoolers Atafeh (Nikohl Boosheri), a daughter of privilege, and Shireen (Sarah Kazemy), living with her uncle and grandmother after the death of her regime-challenging intellectual parents, dream of escaping to Dubai. In their frequently cut-to fantasies, the city is a utopia of high-femme boîtes and chic hotel suites for Showtime-style sapphistry. The teenagers — who seek out clandestine centers of decadent pleasure where headscarves are discarded and immodest sequined party dresses are revealed — soon become the target of Atafeh’s older brother, now a devout Muslim (and informer for the morality police) after years of drug addiction. The writer-director often re-emphasizes the obvious, especially when the brother installs spy cams in every room of his parents’ well-appointed house, observing the crimes against the theocratic state from his MacBook Pro.
Oct. 14-21, 7 p.m., 2011

 
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