English and Farsi with English subtitles, 2014, 82 minutes, color, U.S.A./United Kingdom
For Shirin, being part of a perfect Persian family isn’t easy. Acceptance eludes her from all sides: her family doesn’t know she’s bisexual, and her ex-girlfriend, Maxine, can’t understand why she doesn’t tell them. Even the six-year-old boys in her moviemaking class are too ADD to focus on her for more than a second. Following a family announcement of her brother’s betrothal to a parentally approved Iranian prize catch, Shirin embarks on a private rebellion involving a series of pansexual escapades, while trying to decipher what went wrong with Maxine.
Written and directed by Desiree Akhavan (who also stars), Appropriate Behavior introduces a gray area to the LGBT coming-out narrative; in an Iranian-American family, sharing information about one’s sexuality isn’t always the right approach to liberation. With her priceless deadpan delivery, Akhavan’s portrayal of Shirin is the film’s true revelation—a woman caught between self-doubt and self-possession, trapped in a web of family mores and societal expectations with all their accompanying—and often hilarious—complexities.
Director: Desiree Akhavan
Screenwriter: Desiree Akhavan
Producer: Cecilia Frugiuele
Executive Producers: Olivier Kaempfer, Hugo Kaempfer, Lucas Kaempfer, Katie Mustard
Cinematographer: Chris Teague
Editor: Sara Shaw
Production Designer: Miren Marañón
Composer: Josephine Wiggs
Principal Cast: Desiree Akhavan, Rebecca Henderson, Halley Feiffer, Scott Adsit, Anh Duong, Arian Moayed