Directed by Jafar Panahi. With Maryiam Palvin Almani, Nargess Mamizadeh, Mojdan Faramarzi
Iran/Italy/Switzerland 2000, 35mm, color, 90 min. Persian with English subtitles
The ingeniously plotted The Circle unfolds as an afternoon in Tehran turns into darkest night. Episodic in nature, the film jumps from one character to another as a string of women – expectant mothers, newly released prisoners, prostitutes – cross paths and find themselves for one reason or another on the wrong side of the strictures of Iran’s theocracy. A howl of outrage at one nation’s misogyny, the film is also a tour-de-force of filmmaking as Panahi employs every method – from elaborate camera movements to shooting in extremely low light – to tell his story.