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Dancing Mania 2012

Dancing Mania is a short documentary on the latest film by Mania Akbari titled, From Tehran to London. The documentary serves as a visual essay that delves into a critical analysis of the themes of dance, death, and devastation that play a significant role in Mania’s film. The film also follows Mania’s journey in making this film, beginning first in Tehran and ending in London, as political circumstances force her to leave Iran for good.

Dancing Mania is a short documentary on the latest film by Mania Akbari titled, From Tehran to London. The film takes a closer look at Akbari’s latest boundary-pushing film that displays females dancing for the first time in Iranian cinema after the revolution. Dancing Mania not only reviews the evolutionary growth of Akbari as an expressive filmmaker in the constrained atmosphere of Iran, but it intelligently employs stills, stop motion imagery, and backstage footage to capture the depth of the themes that are played out in From Tehran to London. Through the lens of critical analysis with a touch of Freudian psychoanalysis, the documentary comments on how the themes of dance, death, sexuality, censorship and devastation come to light through the actor’s dialogues and symbols in the film.


Roya Akbari’s seemless narration guides the audience through various footage and acts as a visual essay, but one that can cinematically stand on its own. The fact that Roya Akbari herself has lived extensively in Iran and in the West and allows her nuanced analysis to capture the various challenges that From Tehran to London comments on. One of these challenges is the reality that Mania Akbari faces by the end of the filming, that of leaving Iran for good. The documentary shows how the themes in a sense extend to Mania’s reality and how the interrelationship between art and death eventually pushed Mania out of Iran as she was facing a kind of creative death. The documentary begins first with Roya Akbari explaining the symbolic significance of the documentary’s title to Mania Akbari and at the end of the documentary we come full circle by Roya reading a letter that Mania, would be “loosing her creative spirit” if she remained in Iran any longer.

Directed Produced and Narrated by: Roya Akbari
Script: Roya Akbari
Camera: Mohhamd Ali Ghasemi
Back Stage Camera:Roya Akbari
Editors: Sohrab Nourbakhsh, Roya Akbari, Maksim Bentesinov


Iran  Farsi with English Subtitle  2012  Color  25 min

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