Dubbing SATC in Tehran

“Why are you making donkey sounds?” asks a character to two young lesbians in a fraught—and very funny—scene from Iranian-American first-time director Maryam Keshavarz’s coming-of-age tragicomedy Circumstance (Roadside Attractions, out today). The film, set in a cloistered, post-Revolution Tehran wracked by the perceived dual scourges of sex and sexuality, follows teens Atafeh (Nikohl Boosheri) and Shireen (Sarah Kazemy) as they participate in a scheme to dub and package pirated copies of two banned films: Gus Van Sant’s Milk (2008) and Sex and the City (2008). The actresses’ performance of Samantha’s vocal moanings didn’t go over well in Beirut, where the film was shot. “It was a hot day, so we had the window cracked and the military came by to investigate,” Boosheri recalls. “We were like, ‘This is such great chocolate!’” Kazemy adds: “‘Mmm . . . dark chocolate . . . Oh my god!’”