Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Desert Dancer 2014

     This film is based on the true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends in Iran from 1999 until the 2009.  The government frowns on their people dancing and you can be killed if the morality police catch you.  Afshin has wanted to dance since he was a young boy and he was criticized for dancing at school until he moved to the Saba Arts School.  Later, Afshin and his friends from the University of Tehran form an underground dance company.  They need to be constantly vigilant and extremely careful that no one but the group knows about their dancing.  They decide to dance in the desert where they can be free to express their craft and like-minded Iranians can come to see their presentations.  In 2009, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was reelected as the President of Iran but opposition leader Mir-Hossein Mousavi demanded a recount that caused protests.  During the protests, it was extremely dangerous to be seen as different.
     The dancers were inspired by banned videos of Michael Jackson, Rudolf Nureyev and the Dirty Dancing film.  There are three story lines woven into this film.  The formation of the dance group, the view of Iranians in general about the 2009 elections and the romance/friendship between Afshin and Elaheh.  She is a young woman taught to dance by her ballerina mother.  There is a lot of brutality from the individuals driven to purge any differences from the Iranian people.  In their view, they deserve death from beatings and stabbings?  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

104 min, Bio directed by Richard Raymond with Freida Pinto, Nazanin Boniadi, Tom Cullen, Reece Ritchie, Simon LKassianides, Marama Corlett, Akin Gazi, Neet Mohan, Makram Khoury, Mourad Zaoui, Gabriel Senior.

Note:  Imdb 6.0 out of 10, 30% critic 63% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 2*, 4.4* out of 5* with 50 reviews.
Special Note:  A British release filmed in Casablanca and Erfoud, Morocco; Paris, France and London, England.  

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