The Circle

The Circle


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

The women in Jafar Panahi's film are on the run. Well, not all of them. Or even, any. But the impression given is that women on their own in Iran are in danger of being harassed by police, interrogated and eventually locked up.

The title indicates a circular plot, which is not quite the case. The camera follows one and then another and then another. There is no continuity and it is difficult to follow at times.

Copy picture

Arezou and Nargess have just been released from prison. They don't have the right identification papers and are nervous of any man in uniform. They scuttle through the markets, fearful of confrontation.

Pari has escaped, seeking an abortion for her unwanted baby. She wanders the streets like a lost soul, destitute in spirit and circumstance, while Nayareh abandons her beautiful child and is picked up on suspicion of prostitution.

Despite, or because of, the appalling nature of these women's lives, the film has a raw edge. Like so many Iranian movies, it is slow and uncompromising. The clarity of Panahi's style feels like a harsh wind.

Reviewed on: 20 Sep 2001
Share this with others on...
The Circle packshot
Women from prison try to stay clean and out of trouble in a country where they are not respected.
Amazon link

Director: Jafar Panahi

Writer: Kambozia Partovi

Starring: Fereshteh Sadr Orafai, Fatemeh Naghavi, Nargess Mamizadeh, Maryam Parvin Almani, Elham Saboktakin

Year: 2000

Runtime: 91 minutes

BBFC: PG - Parental Guidance

Country: Iran/Italy


EIFF 2001

Search database:

If you like this, try: