Desert Dancer

April 10th, 2015


Desert Dancer

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Afshin Ghaffarian risks everything to start a dance company amidst his home country of Iran's politically volatile climate and the nation's ban on dancing.

Release Year: 2014

Rating: 5.3/10 (426 voted)

Critic's Score: /100

Director: Richard Raymond

Stars: Nazanin Boniadi, Freida Pinto, Marama Corlett

A film based on an incredible true story. Desert Dancer is a classic hero story about brave young people risking their lives to rebel against their government and fight for their dreams. Set in Iran, where it is currently forbidden to dance, the story follows Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends who despite the dangers form an underground dance company where, via hacking into YouTube, they learn from the very best - Michael Jackson, Pina Bausch, Gene Kelly and Rudolf Nureyev. Reveling in the freedom of expression that dance gives them, they set upon putting on a performance deep in the desert, away from the watchful eyes of the military police.

Writers: Jon Croker, Afshin Ghaffarian

Nazanin Boniadi - Parisa Ghaffarian
Freida Pinto - Elaheh
Marama Corlett - Mona
Tom Cullen - Ardavan
Reece Ritchie - Afshin Ghaffarian
Simon Kassianides - Sattar
Akin Gazi - Farid Ghaffarian
Hamza Kadri - Smocking Guy
Mourad Zaoui - The student
Makram Khoury - Mehdi
Tolga Safer - Stephano
Davood Ghadami - Basij Leader
Neet Mohan - Javadi, Naser
Richard David-Caine - Teymour / Trinculo
Bamshad Abedi-Amin - Mehran

Taglines: Freedom Take Courage

Country: UK

Language: English

Release Date: 10 April 2015

Filming Locations: London, England, UK

Box Office Details

Budget: $4,000,000 (estimated)

Technical Specs


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User Review


Rating: 9/10

I saw this at the US premiere in Santa Barbara. It was shown to a sold-out house of some 2200 people. It received a long ovation at the end. The story is based on the true story of the male lead. He wants to be a dancer, and the Iranian regime frowns on dancing. The tension is palpable, the cast of "good guys" and "bad guys" and "maybes" is good, there is some good male-female chemistry, and the ending is heartwarming. The dancing and the acting are top-notch, as are the photography and the music. I had some difficulty with the accents, but it certainly didn't ruin the movie. If I wrote much more, I would spoil it. So I won't. Just this advice: Go see it for yourself, you won't regret it.


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