Title   Cast   Director   Year Shown  Other Info    Country  Notes 


Iran / Italy, 2000, 91 min

Shown in 2001


Jafar Panahi
Jafar Panahi
Kambozia Partovi
Bahram Badakhshani
Jafar Panahi
Fereshteh Sadir Orafai, Maryam Parvin Almani, Nargess Mamizadeh, Elham Saboktakin, Monir Arab


US - WinStar Cinema, 419 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10016. FAX: 212-545-9931 WORLD - Celluloid Dreams, 24, rue Lamartine, 75009 Paris, France. WEB:
The Circle

Jafar Panahi's first feature, the delicate, charming The White Balloon (1995), was among the first products of the Iranian new wave to reach a wide and enthusiastic audience in the West. Winner of the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, The Circle, which has been banned by Iranian authorities, is more ambitious and unsettling. While it shares the earlier film's clarity and formal precision as well as its feel for the bustle and surprise of daily life, it focuses with unflinching candor on some of the harsher aspects of life in the Islamic republic. For reasons that emerge only gradually and obliquely, six young women are in a state of agitation and panic. They seem to be in flight, though from what threat and toward what refuge remains mysterious. With great tact and sympathy, and without ever resorting to melodrama, Mr. Panahi stares at what, in any society, are uncomfortable, even taboo subjects: abortion, prostitution, family violence, the abandonment of children. The actresses give remarkably open performances; their faces (which, given Iranian standards of propriety, are all they have to work with) are alive with emotions. One of the deepest impressions The Circle leaves is of the terrifying but also in its way thrilling complexity of experience.

—A.O. Scott, New York Times