In a hospital waiting room a woman learns her daughter, Solmaz Gholami, has just given birth. The ultrasound test had prepared the family for a boy. The baby, it turns out, is a girl. The joy the mother anticipated turns to terror for she knows her son-in-law’s family will abandon her daughter. The old woman flees as the in-laws arrive. On the crowded streets of Tehran – a place where women are not permitted to stay out on their own or smoke in public – two women are also on the run. Arezou and Nargess have just been granted temporary leave from prison but they have no plans to return. They manage to scrounge together enough money for the bus trip to Nargess’ hometown, but she lacks proper identification, and the police are searching everyone at the station. Meanwhile, their friend Pari has just escaped from prison in order to have an abortion. Threatened with death by her brothers, she flees from her father’s house and meets with a former inmate… –IMDb
Jafar Panahi (Persian: جعفر پناهی , born July 11, 1960 in Mianeh, Iran) is an Iranian filmmaker and is one of the most influential filmmakers in the Iranian New Wave movement. He has gained recognition from film theorists and critics worldwide and received numerous awards including the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival and the Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival.
Jafar Panahi was ten years old when he wrote his first book, which subsequently won the first prize in a literary competition. At the same age, he became familiar with film making. He shot films on 8mm film, acting in one and assisting in the making of another. Later, he took up photography. During his military service, Panahi served in the Iran–Iraq War (1980-90) and made a documentary about the war during this period.
After studying film directing at the College of Cinema and Television in Tehran, Panahi made several films for Iranian television and was the assistant director of Abbas Kiarostami’s… read more
An exquisitely sensitive film about the homelessness of women in Iranian society, circles caught in various squares -- prison cells, fathers' houses, even doctors' offices. Told elusively in a round robin style, the tales of these women -- and girls -- are presented as facets of the same stark reality, with little if any suggestion of a way out.
An apt title for the film: not only is it actually cyclic, one woman visits a cinema called the Circle. Panahi's sympathetic characters inhabit a fragmented narrative that compels the viewer to view Iranian society as the sum of their stories' parts, a clever move.