Desert Dancer

2015-04-30 11:54

What it's about:

Set in Iran, this powerful and unbelievable true story follows the brave ambition of Afshin Ghaffarian. During the volatile climate of the 2009 presidential election, where many cultural freedoms were threatened, Afshin and some friends, including Elaheh, risk their lives and form an underground dance company. Through banned online videos, they learn from timeless legends who cross all cultural divides, such as Michael Jackson, Gene Kelly, and Rudolf Nureyev. Afshin and Elaheh also learn much from each other—most importantly, how to embrace their passion for dance and for one another.

What we thought:

So it’s just another dance movie right? I certainly have no problem watching people express themselves with a good storyline along the way but boy oh boy was I wrong about this dance movie.

Yes it is a movie about dancing and yes people get to express themselves but never will you see a story told through movement like this!

In a time where the desperation for political change was vital the rest of the world, as Iranians saw it, was so far removed from their reality not even dreams could reach it.

With stolen freedom used as motivation, a group of brave souls risk their lives to show the world what desperation looks like and although their ‘world’ consists of a self-employed, underground dance academy, a secret audience and an open space, that’s all they needed to convince me to take control of my own life regardless of what the government says is right.

When Afshin and Elaheh meet their souls share a connection that can only be seen through dance. Learning and growing together they tell a story without words but show the passion they have for the freedom to express themselves.

The chemistry shared between Reece Ritchie (Afshin) and Freida Pinto – who plays Elaheh – is absolutely electrifying and while emphasis is put on what they can do with their bodies, their emotional connection makes watching the film even better.

To be able to use contemporary dance to achieve interpreting something that would normally only be described in a negative context is something magical. The set-up of the film may have looked low budget and simple, actions spoke louder than words!

While it involves the political crisis Iran went through during the 2009 presidential elections, Desert Dancer is also a story about a couple of youngsters who fail to understand why their opportunity to be great has been stolen from them.

And all the while they aim to go behind their government’s back knowing it could get them killed, do they end up exposing their government for the unfair judgement it has adopted as its law?

The immense need for a brighter future may ruffle certain feelings towards current events in South Africa however, the standard of dancing may also enlighten viewers to follow their hearts rather than their heads or even worse the crowd and that in itself is a story worth being told.

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