The film follows exiled Iranian dancer Afshin Ghaffarian’s life story: Despite the country’s ban on dancing, Ghaffarian starts a clandestine society where enthusiasts learn together from Youtube videos. Amid the turmoil of the The Green Movement, he goes through a rite of passage, deciphering his identity as a dancer and a political being. Dance sequences choreographed by Akram Khan are dazzling, but they do not stop the viewer from wondering if aesthetics occasionally override truth.
Desert Dancer | Directed by Richard Raymond (UK 2014) with Reece Ritchie, Freida Pinto, Nazanin Boniadi. Starts July 3
Originally published in issue #129, July/August 2014