The multitude of repressive setbacks in the way of lesbian love in Teheran is the theme for this brave, provocative and moving Iranian drama, the Audience Award winner at the Sundance Film Festival. It’s also an eye-opener as an explosive, revealing portrait of Iran’s youth culture, with its rush of parties, drugs and blooming sexuality.

The plot focuses on two young women who love each other and try to stay together when one of them, out of convenience and pressure, marries the religious brother of the other. The family is delighted but the true lovers start to tear apart.

Naturalistic, powerful performances by Nikohl Boosheri and Sarah Kazemy, a biting script and incisive direction bring it to vivid, heartrending life. Raza Safai is chilling as the brother.

Derek Winnert (c) 2012