The need to be free.
The prescreening of Desert Dancer at a historic downtown theater was packed with diverse viewers. I came to see a dance movie unaware of the intense politics I would encounter in the story. I left deeply moved.
Afshin Ghaffarrian is a dancer. Well, he is not a trained dancer, but he dances with all the passion of a Russian ballet artist. Unfortunately, he lives in Iran where dancing is forbidden. Now, before you go "aaahhh Footloose," on me... Afshin's journey is far from simply changing the minds of a few overprotective, highly religious parents in a small Midwestern town. Afshin wants to start a dance group in a country where dancing is a capital offense. Afshin is not alone in his desires though. Other students at his university place profound trust in Afshin's dream including Elaheh (Frieda Pinto) whose demons inspire her talent, and Ardy (Tom Cullen) whose passion is for revolution at any level. Afshin's group endeavors to perform deep in the desert without fear of punishment. However, it is Afshin's politics that have him pursued by the military police and desperate to flee his home. Based on a very moving true story. I definitely recommend this for rebels who love to dance, if only for the main performance which blew me away.