Desert Dancer

Desert Dancer

Richard Raymond (2014)

15 Certificate


Our Score
The events that prompted dancer Afshin Ghaffarian to flee Iran for France in 2009 are outlined in Richard Raymond's well-meaning, but off-puttingly naive directorial debut. As dancing had been outlawed since the Islamic Revolution of 1979, the young Afshin (Gabriel Senior) was amazed to learn about it in Western pop videos and from a courageous teacher (Makram Khoury). Later, as a university student in Tehran in 2009, Afshin (Reece Ritchie) is a dance aficionado and teams with classmate Elaheh (Freida Pinto) to create a piece in support of reformist candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi in his bid for the presidency. However, Elaheh is a heroin addict and the performance will have to be clandestine to prevent it being halted by the "Basij" morality police. There is so little political depth and dramatic tension in the leaden script that the subversive aspect of Ritchie and Pinto's platonic partnership is almost negligible. Moreover, Raymond shoots Akram Khan's kinetic choreography with little compositional flair or rhythmic dynamism. Consequently, this earnest string of platitudes and contrivances is bereft of insight or inspiration.

Cast & Crew

Afshin Ghaffarian Reece Ritchie
Elaheh Freida Pinto
Parisa Ghaffarian Nazanin Boniadi
Ardavan Tom Cullen
Farid Ghaffarian Akin Gazi
Mona Marama Corlett
Sattar Simon Kassianides
Stephano Tolga Safer
Mehdi Makram Khouri
Mehran Bamshad Abedi-Amin
Director Richard Raymond
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: MetrodomeAvailable on: DVDReleased on: 22 Apr 2016