The Circle

2000 [PERSIAN]


Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh94%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright79%
IMDb Rating7.4106431

on the runwomen and society

Plot summary

Uploaded by: FREEMAN


Top cast

720p.WEB 1080p.WEB
838.55 MB
Persian 2.0
24 fps
1 hr 31 min
P/S 6 / 19
1.52 GB
Persian 2.0
24 fps
1 hr 31 min
P/S 9 / 24

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by ThurstonHunger7 / 10

heart of starkness

*some potential spoilers below*

This film raised a lot of questions for me...including

Where was this filmed? It seems in Iran for much of it.

Why does Nargess not board the bus at once? Would she still have been subject to the official search that we see from above later? When she purchased that shirt was that to tie her back to the "flirtation" with the man who earlier was seen decorating the wedding car?

Are Iranian doors really so narrow? I'm specifically referring to Pari's house, also was it obvious to other viewers that the men that stormed that place after Nargess visits were Pari's brothers??

Was that orange soda an Iranian product placement?

Okay, that last question is not in earnest. I'll take the scourge of crass commercialization over invisible imprisonment (but it would be estimable to avoid both as a society ultimately.)

However my first question stands. For this film to be made (partially?) in Iran suggests to me a less draconian presence of persecution. Did the actresses (and non-actresses) all have proper ID cards and clearance themselves? Are the various inquisitors too busy stopping women, to peruse the dailies?

I have no desire to defend a country wherein clerics get to decide who can and cannot run for office. But in another film, I would almost like to see some attempt to show complex characters who do defend the need for ID cards and chaperones and women living in the shadows of their chadors.

When I interview Firoozeh Dumas regarding her universally enjoyable book "Funny in Farsi" I made the mistake of thinking that returning to Iran was prohibitive for her and her Iranian-American family. She corrected me on that. And I recall Western attitudes about Russia in the 1980's that proved to be misguided (or perhaps very truly guided towards misinformation.)

While I had questions, I do think director Panahi is one who invites open questions to this film. His avoidance of back histories to the women featured here helps us to feel as if we are on the lam with them. The hand-held camera (its shakiness on the large screen I think would pose some trouble for folks like my wife) also helped the audience to share the worried nature of the characters.

The approach to this film struck me as the approach of an auteur. Thus, this film is more likely to stand aside Eisenstein than Weinstein...more likely to be shown at the Pacific Film Archives than the "arty, upscale" multiplex. I do think this will prove to be a favorite in classrooms, I get the feeling that Panahi achieved a lot with very little to start with.

Women are often shot behind bars, cleverly so. At a cinema ticket booth, through a hospital window screen, outside by a gate. The film starts with a woman screaming in agony, and I did not know *right* away that it was a woman giving birth. It did become clear pretty quickly, but as I reflect back it could be that the pain for women is not just confined to labor. The camera travels like a virus from one woman, one story, at a time. As one other reviewer mentioned this reminded me of "Slacker" (I've not seen "La Ronde.")

I referred to the chadors above, while I still don't know a chador from a burkha...there seemed to be different ones worn by different women throughout. I suspect some sort of significance. The all-white one of Elham really stood out for me.

The contrast of that, and her apparent success in getting out of the societal prison she was stuck in versus the strife her circle of sisters still must endure was stark. As stark as the white versus black garments, as stark as the wedding procession that runs blithely through the film and as stark as the footage provided here.

I'm glad I saw this...and suspect you will be as well. I look forward to watching more of Panahi's films and hope there will be more artistic exchanges between the U.S. and Iran. Indeed the film I probably want to see, would be the one that *both* governments would like to ban. Has our Attorney General Ashcroft seen any Iranian films that disturbed him recently??


Reviewed by kamerad9 / 10

Not much I can say that hasn't been said before, but I wanted to say it anyway.

While reading the various interviews with Jafar Panahi concerning his latest film "The Circle", I noticed that he always stresses the fact that his film is not a feminist film, but a humanist film. I'm reminded of the times I've been in a political conversation with someone and they've said "I'm no feminist but..." and then said something in defense of women's rights. Well, whether he intended it or not, Panahi has made a feminist film, because after all, feminism in its most basic form has nothing to do with hating men, but is merely a desire for the fair and equal treatment of women, and equal human rights is of course a cornerstone of humanism. I'm no scholar (and that I can say in all honesty) but yes, I would say I'm a feminist. I've never been on a march, and I've never read the works of any great feminist theorists, but to the core of my soul I believe in the equal and fair treatment of women, and if that doesn't make me a feminist I don't know what does.

Of course, all this discussion about feminism wouldn't matter if "The Circle" wasn't such a strong film. Panahi's film, almost universally praised, will receive no negative criticism here either. His use of narrative (most reviews compare the narrative style to "La Ronde" [1950], but I suppose comparisons could be made with "The Phantom of Liberty" [1974] and "Slacker" [1990], for that matter) might be perceived by some rob the characters of their individuality, but of course that is part of the point. In Iran today women are all grouped together, Panahi is saying, and they are seen as no more that a collective problem for men to deal with. Ultimately, there is nothing I can say about this film that hasn't been said before, but I wanted a chance to express my appreciation for this extraordinary myself.

Reviewed by claudio_carvalho8 / 10

The Repressive Situation Against the Women in the Iranian Society

A baby girl is born, and the grandmother regrets for the sex of the baby. Three women are released under probation from the jail and get lost into the crowd, without courage to come back home and having no money. A woman escape from the jail to make an abort and is expelled from her own home by her family. Another woman left her daughter of about six years old alone on the street. A prostitute is arrested with her client in his car, and the man is released by the police later while the woman goes to jail. All of these individuals and disconnected situations are presented to show the repressive situation against the women in the Iranian society. In the end, like in a circle, all of them ends arrested in the jail. I am not aware of the behavior of the Iranian society with their women, but this movie portraits a horrible picture. The women are showed without freedom, depending on her husband or her family even for simple actions, like traveling in a bus. If their society works this way, how are these actresses daily treated after their performances in this movie? The camera and the direction are excellent. It is amazing the capability of the Iranian filmmakers in making simple but touching films. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): `O Círculo' (`The Circle')

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