About Freedom and Circumstance

SBS on Demand has the film Circumstance on their ‘Rainbow Pride’ collection, which I think you should watch, especially if you are a woman or a man or a person basically.

Circumstance is a 2011 film that depicts some of Iran’s complexities from the perspective of two young women who fall in love. Although at the beginning it may seem like a ‘lesbian film’ with scenes made for men, or at least using the commercial male-focussed  hotness of two ‘mamasitas,’ I found the film incredibly valuable and confronting.

Like most dramas the film doesn’t have a happy ending, however, I didn’t realise it was a drama until I was halfway through. Circumstance took me to Tehran and made me feel uncomfortable. My ignorance on the subject probably helped to find their ‘subversive’ and underground activities fun and thrilling. But the seriousness and violent end slapped me in the face and left me hanging speechless with my heart shrunk.

Leaving the Americanisation of freedom aside, and the fact that reality is more complex than black and white, the good guys and the bad guys; I couldn’t help but feel like celebrating my fortunate circumstance of freedom. Maybe all the different layers of grey weren’t pertinent for the filmmaker to express what she wanted –which doesn’t mean that we should settle for her point of view– but after watching the film I realised how powerful our own physical expressions of love are.

I live with the woman I love, with the support of our families and friends and a growing community of people from all backgrounds helping in the way to visibility. And now I feel that every time we kiss privately is an act of celebration and every time we kiss publicly is also –in a way– an act of rebellion.


If you want to know a bit more about the circumstances in which this film was made, here is ‘Living and Loving Underground in Iran’ by Larry Rohter on the NYTimes.

Pic: Courtesy of altmuslimah. Used with permission.




2 thoughts on “About Freedom and Circumstance

  1. I remember watching Blue Is The Warmest Colour a while ago, and thinking we need more films like this, that helps portray homosexuality without the titillation. The Iranian context here makes this so much more interesting. : ) Definitely keen to check this out.

    Liked by 1 person

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