Round and Round

Jafar Panahi's The Circle is a vicious one

But if all this fatalism sounds funereal, it isn't. Panahi's film moves at an infectiously anxious pace, its roving, eye-level camerawork maintaining the energy of an escape-in-progress, even as the narrative never allows that sort of release. And through his poetically candid style, Panahi captures the relentlessness of these women's search for independent safety, and their boundless resourcefulness in service to their own survival. The Circle may end up more or less where it began, but its kinetic swirl suggests the radical possibility of breaking the cycle.

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