Unashamedly honest and emotionally rigorous, Appropriate Behaviour is the spiky cinematic debut of director Desiree Akhavan. With a cool New York air and effortless feel to the stylish cinematography, the storyline is intriguing and sets out the simultaneous freedoms and restrictions of young people with culturally diverse heritage.
Set in Brooklyn, we are candidly introduced to the life and emotional tides of Iranian 20-something Shirin. Honestly and perceptively portrayed by Desiree Akhavan herself, Shirin is a complex, neurotic and spirited female trying to reconcile her bi-sexuality with her Persian family and their values. In the throws of an evidently traumatic break-up she is a victim of disastrous heartbreak. From online dating, casual drinks with guys, girls and even fooling around with a heterosexual couple, she drifts desperate for a successful rebound. The relationship with her ex Maxine (Rebecca Henderson) is played out in short flashback episodes, and the touching romance and chemistry between them is understandably the root of Shirin’s mourning.
Unemployed and having a crisis in the direction of her life, professional and romantic, Shirin’s happy-go-lucky friend finds her a job teaching wildly playful kindergarten kids how to make films. She soldiers on with darkening sarcastic wit for armour.
This film is current, unapologetic and feisty, with its characters as self-deprecating as Americans know how to be. Akhavans’ subject is representative of the range of moods and emotions modern women experience when at the crossroads of love and vocation all at once. In the wake of contemporary feminism it is reassuring to see such a realistic and quite frankly healthy approach to the visual portrayal of the female body. It’s a wide arching piece with sharp humor and the issues raised are not exclusively ones for women. Sexually focused and local to the effects of Iranian culture in the life of a gay woman, Appropriate Behaviour is ambassadorial.
Appropriate Behaviour is released nationwide on 6th March 2015.
Watch the trailer for Appropriate Behaviour here: