I Want to Dance | Chicago Reader

I Want to Dance

A 60-year-old Tehran author suffering from writer’s block receives a CD of songs from a mysterious street vendor; after he listens to it, he becomes magically possessed by the urge to dance everywhere he goes. This 2015 feature, directed by Bahman Farmanara (Smell of Camphor, Fragrance of Jasmine) from a script by Omid Sohrabi, might seem to some Western eyes like a genial comedy about finding happiness. It’s really a pointed critique of Iranian society. Since it’s illegal to dance in public in Iran, the author’s strange behavior doesn’t make others regard him as a kook, but rather a full-blown dissident. The central joke is that one can be perceived as dangerous in Iran without even trying to be, and it’s to the filmmakers’ credit that the joke never grows stale. Not surprisingly, the Iranian government didn’t find this very funny; the film was banned there for three years. In Farsi with subtitles.

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