This compelling and sensitive feature directorial debut by Iranian-American writer-director Maryam Keshavarz tells of youthful passion and idealism stamped on by tradition in modern-day Tehran. Atafeh (Nikohl Boosheri) and Shireen (Sarah Kazemy) are two girls approaching adulthood, the former from a fairly liberal and wealthy family and the second from a less cosy background. They go to parties, drink and fall in love with each other. They even get involved with a dangerous scheme to dub ‘Sex and the City’ and the film ‘Milk’ into Farsi. While Atafeh’s parents react reasonably to her clashes with the police, her older brother, Mehran (Reza Sixo Safai), a troubled soul, allies himself with oppression as a mode of survival and proceeds to make the lives of both girls a misery. With shades of ‘My Son the Fanatic’ and ‘The Lives of Others’, ‘Circumstance’ tries to cram in a few too many issues and events, but Keshavarz’s deft handling of intimate moments and wise use of music keeps things grounded. The content feels familiar, but the perspective is fresh.