The New York Times – Escaping Nosy Parents, and the Morality Police, Too
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A scattered yet engaging soap exalted by the particulars of its birth, Dog Sweat” follows a handful of young Iranians as they pursue forbidden passions under the watchful gaze of a conservative Islamic society.

While the 2009 Green Revolution plays out off screen, an aspiring pop singer braves arrest to make a record while her soon-to-be-husband tries to distance himself from his gay lover. Elsewhere a ferociously independent young woman sneaks around with a married man, while her brother, recently returned from studying in the United States, desperately searches for a place to have sex with his new girlfriend without falling foul of the morality police.

In a country where even a celebrated filmmaker can be jailed on suspicion of making a politically sensitive movie, Hossein Keshavarz’s debut feature, shot on the sly in Tehran, is undeniably courageous if frustratingly superficial. Parents and relatives are uniformly rigid and unsympathetic, declaring marriage “the only road to happiness” and locking up wayward daughters. Here religious repression irritates only the young.

Falling under the general rubric of films like Bahman Ghobadi’s “No One Knows About Persian Cats” and this year’s “Circumstance” (directed by Mr. Keshavarz’s sister, Maryam), “Dog Sweat” (the title is slang for alcohol) is surprisingly polished, the young actors warmly believable despite being restricted by the film’s narrow focus. Tahereh Azadi is especially magnetic as a committed feminist tempted to choose a dangerously volatile admirer to escape her mother’s constant surveillance. Watching her fight for the simplest of freedoms can only make us more grateful for our own.

Source: The New York Times


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