Back to IndieWire

Inspiring Film ‘Desert Dancer’ Tells the Story of Iranian Youth Yearning to Create Art

Inspiring Film 'Desert Dancer' Tells the Story of Iranian Youth Yearning to Create Art

This is an unexpected but beautiful, inspiring film. It tells the very human story of youth yearning to express themselves through art (in this case as
dancers) who end up through no wish or foresight as socially dangerous protesters against a tyrannical, arbitrarily repressive government.
Iran is such an interesting country with one of the oldest cultures in the world. It was fascinating to see youth whose only wish was to create art being
pulled into social protest. In recent years from abroad we have studied the various moves politically of their conservative oppressive government. I have
always wondered what the youth, artists and intellectuals were and are going through there. This film brings us inside, up close.
Desert Dancer” by Richard Raymond follows the true, inspiring story of a brave Iranian dancer, Afshin Ghaffarian.
Set in Tehran during the volatile climate of the 2009 presidential election and the start of the “Green Movement,” Afshin and a group of dancers (including
“Elaheh” played by Freida Pinto) risk their lives and form an underground dance company.
One of the most socially dangerous things they do is to go on the forbidden internet to look at online dance videos.
With what little access to the Internet they had, the group
discovers music and dance videos that were banned from viewing in their
country.
The group learns various forms, techniques and styles of dance from
timeless legends like Michael Jackson, Gene Kelly and Rudolf Nureyev.
Inspired by these
newfound heroes, they stage their own performances and uncover a
passion for dance and one another.
While the political and cultural backdrop of “Desert Dancer” is very
unique to the time and place, the struggle to overcome oppression—
whether from a
government or from within— proves universal.

“Desert Dancer” stars Freida Pinto, Reece Ritchie, Tom Cullen,
Nazanin Boniadi and Makram J. Khoury. Director: Richard Raymond;
Screenplay: Jon Croker, based
on the life story of Afshin Ghaffarian; Producers: Pippa Cross,
Fabiola Beracasa, Izabella Miko, Luis Astorquia

International Sales are being handled by 6 Sales.
Rights have been sold to the following territories: Germany (Senator
Enterta), Hong Kong (Cinehub), South Kore (Sookie Pictures), Lebanon
(Italia Film), Russia (Exponenta Films), Spain (Betta Pictures), Turkey
(Kurmaca Film), U.S.A. (Relativity Media).

This Article is related to: Features and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,