Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Circle (2000)

"Without a man, you can't go anywhere."
This is one woman that abandons her little girl says to another woman hiding out also. The little girl was about 4 years old and a street vendor finds her alone, and eventually the police come as the two women hide behind a parked car.

Three Iranian women must contend with a repressive political regime that has placed a stranglehold on nearly every aspect of their lives in this hard-hitting social drama. In a nation where a woman cannot buy a bus ticket out of town or accept a car ride from a man, much less have an abortion, it's not difficult for women to find themselves on the wrong side of the law. Arezou (Maryiam Parvin Almani), Nargess (Nargess Mamizadeh), and Pari (Fereshteh Sadr Orafai) are left to fend for themselves after leaving an Iranian penal institution. Arezou and Nargess want to get out of town, but as they try to buy tickets to another city, find they must resort to prostitution to do it. Pari is in even worse straits; she's discovered she's pregnant, but she can't legally obtain an abortion without a husband's permission. Pari searches for help among former cellmates Monir and Elham, both of whom are now unhappily married, while learning just how many desperate women roam the streets of Iran. As one might expect, Dayereh was highly controversial in Iran and was initially banned by the government, though it received a limited release after winning the Golden Lion at the 2000 Venice Film Festival. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

Theatrical Feature Running Time: 91 mins
The Circle (2000)
Although the above review seems to talk as if the movie is about the three, it is actually a real time story told over a shifting number of female characters and each kind of giving a glimpse into their lives including the woman that abandons her little girl since she has no husband. In the end the one woman that is just trying to catch a cab is sent to jail and then in her cell the camera pans back over to our three women that started out in the story. No matter what they did, they ended back in the arms of the authoritarian Islamic state.

At times the film seemed a little gritty and harsh but well worth watching.

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