On The Lawn
50 Bedford Ave. at North 13th St., Brooklyn, NY 11222
L to Bedford Ave. or G to Nassau Ave.
|10:30PM||Q&A with filmmaker and lead actress Desiree Akhavan|
|11:30PM||After party at Bar Matchless, sponsored by New Amsterdam Spirits|
Appropriate Behavior (Desiree Akhavan | 82 min.)
We first encounter Shirin--the inappropriate, young, bi-sexual Iranian-American protagonist of Appropriate Behavior--casually walking down a Brooklyn street with a strap-on dildo dangling from her hand. When her first real girlfriend and love, Maxine, breaks up with her, Shirin is forced to candidly reevaluate her entire life, navigate her feelings of abandonment, communicate to her loving yet traditional Persian parents that she likes girls too, and deal with the fact that her brother is marrying a perfect parentally-approved Iranian prize catch.
Her response is to move to Bushwick, rack up a few lovelorn encounters via online dating, attempt a ménage à trois, and continue to avoid coming out to her family. She is caught between identities: modernity vs. tradition, ambition vs. practicality, straight vs. gay, and hope vs. cynicism. Shirin’s management of these human problems in a first-world setting could have made her a difficult character to like, but Akhavan’s subtle performance and sharp writing make her incredibly relatable and undeniably watchable. From the opening scene, Shirin establishes herself as a capable, funny, intelligent, and beautiful woman who could care less about those traits in the face of personal heartache.
Akhavan is perhaps best known as the co-creator and star of the cult web-series The Slope, about “superficial, homophobic lesbians” living in Brooklyn’s Park Slope Neighborhood. With Appropriate Behavior, she expands her unique brand by mining the minutiae of Brooklyn’s cultural world and the characters that inhabit them for incisive, humorous results. Akhavan crafts another portrait of a modern woman stumbling through life's complexities and coming out on the other side bruised, but better and stronger for it. Appropriate Behavior is remarkably assured feature film debut, and Akhavan’s wit, comic timing, and thoughtful honesty leap off the screen from the opening frame through to the end.
Iranian American filmmaker Desiree Akhavan is the co-creator and star of the award-winning Web series The Slope, a comedy that follows a pair of superficial homophobic lesbians in love. She was recently featured as one of Filmmaker magazine’s "25 New Faces of Independent Film" and is currently in production on an animated series called The Origin of Shame for former MTV CEO Judy McGrath’s new site, Astronauts Wanted. Appropriate Behavior is her first feature film.