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The Circle (2000) More at IMDbPro »Dayereh (original title)

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Down 18% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Kambuzia Partovi (written by)
Jafar Panahi (idea)
View company contact information for The Circle on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
8 September 2000 (Italy) See more »
Various women struggle to function in the oppressively sexist society of contemporary Iran. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
13 wins & 5 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
A Few Western Observations See more (26 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)
Nargess Mamizadeh ... Nargess
Maryiam Palvin Almani ... Arezou (as Maryam Parvin Almani)
Mojgan Faramarzi ... Mojgan - Prostitute
Elham Saboktakin ... Elham - Nurse
Monir Arab ... Monir - Ticket Seller
Maedeh Tahmasebi ... Maedeh (as Maedeh Tahmasbi)
Maryam Shayegan ... Parveneh
Khadijeh Moradi
Negar Ghadyani
Solmaz Panahi ... Solmaz
Fereshteh Sadre Orafaiy ... Pari (as Fereshteh Sadr Orafai)
Fatemeh Naghavi ... Nayer
Ataollah Moghadas ... Haji
Abbas Alizadeh ... Father of Pari

Directed by
Jafar Panahi 
Writing credits
Kambuzia Partovi (written by)

Jafar Panahi (idea)

Produced by
Mohammad Atebbai .... associate producer
Morteza Motavali .... executive producer
Jafar Panahi .... producer
Cinematography by
Bahram Badakshani  (as Bahram Badakhshani)
Film Editing by
Jafar Panahi 
Production Design by
Vajid Allah Fariborzi  (as Vajihollah Fariborzi)
Art Direction by
Iraj Raminfar 
Makeup Department
Hemasseh Malaki .... make-up
Production Management
Abolfazl Laleh .... production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Ali Aghababai .... assistant director
Fereshteh Sadre Orafaiy .... assistant director (as Fereshteh Sadr Orafai)
Sound Department
Ahmad Ardalan .... sound
Sassan Bagherpour .... sound
Mehdi Dejbodi .... re-recording mixer
Camera and Electrical Department
Ghogha Bayat .... still photographer
Amir Karimi .... assistant camera
Mehrdad Lashkari .... assistant camera
Editorial Department
Gérard Estival .... color timer (uncredited)
Other crew
Ahmad Moradi .... production assistant
Mehdi Samakar .... title
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Dayereh" - Iran (original title)
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90 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Filming Locations:

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36 out of 38 people found the following review useful.
A Few Western Observations, 11 June 2002
Author: Sabian Wilde (wilde_at_heart) from Perth, Australia

While Jafar Panahi's previous feature films dealt with children, with Dayereh he delves into the contentious issue of women's issues in a highly restrictive society, his native Iran. The film uses a narrative device that Tarantino might be proud to steal, with Panahi's camera following various women through their specific plights, often chasing them through the streets in handheld mode. At any moment, the camera may decide to follow a different character, and although the specific details of the various women's situations may differ, the oppression which is a part of their daily lives is consistently omnipresent. One feature of the film that is part and parcel of its roving camera approach is that there is very little in the way of exposition or denouement in any of the narrative threads. This however, seems to be the point of the entire exercise; in a society that treats women as a lower class of citizen, individual details and circumstances have no bearing on their ability to achieve anything without the presence or authority of a husband or father.

veryday occurrences such as the purchase of a bus ticket to the simple act of smoking a cigarette in public can (and does) result in mandatory incarceration for any woman at any time. The structure of the film gives the impression that literally any woman you might bump into on the streets of Tehran is caught in such a comprehensively prohibitive society that could lead to what could only be considered unconscionable drama in Western society.

Although there are no significant male characters in this story, Panahi uses the entire gender en masse to illustrate the peculiar double standards that have insinuated itself through the fabric of this society. Men are constantly harassing women with inappropriate lewd remarks to which there can obviously be no response to. Simultaneously, if a woman behaves in a manner anything less than perfectly virtuous, her liberty is instantly forfeit.

In one scene, a woman starts to stand up for herself against a casually tossed piece of innuendo, and the audience can do nothing except anticipate the unjust retaliation that will surely be endorsed by the dozens of common passers-by. There are certain elements of the film that no doubt owe to the nature of making a film under these conditions; extras occasionally can't avoid staring at the camera crew, but strangely enough, this gives the film a feel of documentary film-making that somehow enhances the narrative. Nevertheless, there is nothing amateurish about the acting of the principal women, all of whom behave so convincingly that the film conveys a sense of constant danger. Furthermore, this nervous energy never lets up, as we move from story to story at a speed that allows us to experience discomfort, without reaching closure until the final scene, which in itself is a cause for distress.

It is unlikely that Dayereh will ever be a very popular film, as it has many of the 'feel-bad' qualities of films such as A Time For Drunken Horses, with even less sympathetic sentimentality. On an even sadder note, Dayereh has been banned in Iran, where a film of this nature most desperately needs to reach an audience. However, this seems to be the underlying message of the film; not that there are a great many injustices against women occurring in Iran on a daily basis, but that there is no indication of how or when it will stop. Only why.

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