Farhadi’s enormously impressive debut feature begins with Azarbaijani emigre Nazar (Yousef Khodaparast) being forced by family and friends to divorce his beloved bride Reyhaneh (Baran Kosari) after rumors suggest that her mother is a prostitute. Soon, Nazar finds himself working double shifts to pay off his wedding debts and provide some restitution to his ex- (for whom he still pines). Then, on the run from a creditor, he hides in the back of a van belonging to an elderly snake hunter (Faramarz Gharibian) and winds up transported to the middle of the desert, where he haphazardly tries to corner a piece of the old man’s business. A strange, hypnotic, lyrical tale of love and sacrifice, Dancing in the Dust placed Farhadi firmly on the international film festival map, picking up prizes at Moscow and Pusan. NOT ON DVD.
“Farhadi tells the tale engrossingly and with a lot of physicality through the two main actors. As the young swain, Khodaparast creates an original, often irritating character redeemed by his great love. Gharibian's haunted face needs no words to express his inner devastation, and in fact he barely speaks in the film. The snakes are genuinely scary, almost as much as the protagonists’ unpredictable emotions.”
–Deborah Young, Variety