"Trapped in a Spiral of Suffering"
What You Need To Know:
THE CIRCLE implies that any woman in Iran who’s abandoned by her husband or her family is in danger of being sent to jail. THE CIRCLE takes a humanist view of the repression in Iran. Thus, one of the women’s pleas to God for help appear to go unanswered, and viewers are directed to sympathize with the pregnant woman who tries to get an abortion. Of course, Jesus Christ is the real answer, not Godless humanism.
(H, Ab, L, V, M) Humanist worldview which shows how Muslim regime in Iran represses women, but also seems to advocate abortion, & woman pleas for help from God, but apparently her prayers go unanswered; 1 mild obscenity & 4 mild profanities, plus a couple of pleas to God for help which appear to go unanswered; one slap & police arrest woman; no sex, but a couple men proposition women on street; no nudity; no alcohol use; smoking; and, woman goes to get illegal abortion & woman abandons her female child.
THE CIRCLE is a drama from Iran that shows how the Muslim regime represses women. It tells one day or night in the lives of a number of women. One of the women is a grandmother who gets upset when she learns that her daughter is having a girl instead of the expected boy, which means that now her daughter’s husband and in-laws will want a divorce. The movie then focuses on two women who have a furlough from prison, but plan to run away to one of the women’s rural village. Later, the movie focuses its attention on a pregnant woman trying to get an illegal abortion, and a woman who abandons her unwanted little girl because the father no longer wants them. All of the stories are wrapped up in the movie’s final harrowing scene.
It’s not always clear what’s going on in the stories THE CIRCLE tells. The director, Jafar Panahi (THE WHITE BALLOON), also has a tendency to let his camera linger over a situation where nothing much is happening. These problems tend to limit the universality and accessibility of his movie, but the opening and closing scenes brilliantly capture the point of his vision.
Winner of the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, THE CIRCLE implies that any woman who’s abandoned by her husband or her family is in danger of being sent to jail. Whether this is actually true or not is impossible to tell without investigating the matter fully. Although there’s no reason to doubt this contention, THE CIRCLE appears to take a humanist view of the repression in Iran. Thus, one of the women’s pleas to God for help appear to go unanswered, and viewers are directed to sympathize with the pregnant woman who tries to get an abortion. Because of this, extreme caution is required lest anyone find their faith in God diminished by viewing THE CIRCLE.
Of course, the answer to the repressive regime in Iran is not a retreat into godless humanism. The answer is Jesus Christ and the Bible, and the spiritual and political liberty which only they can provide. To paraphrase historian Christopher Dawson’s classic study of Medieval Christendom, RELIGION AND THE RISE OF WESTERN CULTURE, what Iran needs, like all nations, is, first, an intense realization of “the burden of inherited evil under which the human race” labors and, second, an intense realization of the “divine grace” of Jesus Christ as “a continually renewed source of supernatural energy which transforms human nature and changes the course of history.”