"Stirringly Sensua l. Grade: A -"

- Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly


 "An AMAZINGLY ACCOMPLISHED AND COMPLEX first feature from a filmmaker with something to say and the talent to say it."

- James Greenberg, The Hollywood Reporter


"SWIRLING AND SENSUOUS. Ripples with the indignant energy of youthful rebellion...it has undeniable topical resonance. Ms. Keshavarz's feature directorial debut revels in her own sense of freedom, constructing scenes that pulse with sexual energy... undeniable power and conviction."

- A.O. Scott, The New York Times


"SUPREMELY CINEMATIC...There's genuine heat emanating from Circumstance. Maryam Keshavarz's stylish cry of outrage against Iran's criminalization of all things youthful: music, dancing, romance—the gateway drugs of intellectual adulthood."

-John Anderson, Wall Street Journal 

"PROVOCATIVE AND TABOO-BUSTING. Keshavarz is clearly willing to take risks on all fronts." 

-Gary Goldstein, Los Angeles Times 


“It’s an AUSPICIOUS BEGINNING for a young director.” 

- David D’Arcy, Screen International


More News on Circumstance: 



American Cinematographer

The Atlantic

The Bay Area Reporter

The Boston Globe

Boston Herald  

College Movie Review  

Combustible Celluloid


The Daily Beast

Daily Candy

Deadline Hollywood

The Detroit News

The Feminist Spectator


FilmMaker The Magazine

The Film Stage

The Globe and Mail

The Guardian (UK)

Huff Post Culture

Huff Post Entertainment


IndieWire: Article II

IndieWire: Article III


Sundance 2011: Directors to Watch


"This Iranian writer-director’s first feature Circumstance showed in Sundance’s U.S. competition to strong critical responses and scored a pickup deal by Participant Media. The project, about teen girls discovering Tehran’s underground scene while grappling with conservative family pressures, had a 4 1/2-year journey to the screen. Says producer Karin Chien, ”Nothing was easy about making Circumstance. Maryam worked under overwhelming restrictions and at huge personal risk to tell this story. While facing down obstacles that would have crippled most directors, her commitment to her vision never wavered, not for a moment.” After graduating from Northwestern University, Keshavarz briefly went back to Iran and returned to the U.S. again for a doctoral degree. “From an early age, I have been a translator of culture: East for West, and West for East,” says the director. “Hailing from a family where my grandfather was a political poet who was often jailed in Iran, I was interested in the intersections of politics, history and artistic expression.” After 9/11, she made an experimental short titled Sanctuary, which was a surreal fantasy about an Iranian woman navigating life in New York after the disaster. It won Keshavarz the Steve Tisch Fellowship to pursue an MFA in Film Direction at NYU/Tisch. There, she directed her first feature documentary, The Color of Love, an award-winning film. In 2005, Keshevarz went to Argentina to shoot The Day I Died, about an adolescent love triangle. It won two prizes at Berlin. Keshavarz is unrepped at the moment but has been swarmed by agency interest at Sundance."