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Charm Circle

1h 19m Documentary, Deaf and Disabled, Indie, LGBTQIA+ 2021

Charm Circle is an extraordinary documentary. It is a powerful exploration of a New York family navigating the chaos that divides them. It is a cinéma vérité portrait, but the big difference here is that director Nira Burstein is making a film about her own family.

Flaunt Guest Curator, Kath Duncan shares her take on the film in the bonus content below.

The story moves between present day and decades-old home videos. Filmmaker Nira Burstein returns to her childhood home. The house is now crumbling from the inside out. Exploring the circumstances in which her parents live. Discovering prolific musical expression and creative resourcefulness punctuate an otherwise tumultuous environment. The announcement of her younger sister’s polyamorous wedding. Refuel tensions that threaten to sever what’s left of the family bond.

Nira Burstein’s brave, wryly amusing first feature is a tender, unpredictable portrait of a family struggling against an array of issues with honesty and a steely sense of humour. It is clear Nira has the cultural authorship to tell this story. With another filmmaker, the characters in this documentary could have been misunderstood. Used as ableist fodder to explore serious mental health issues as subject matter. Charm Circle navigates untold story spaces to create deep emotional resonance. Going beneath the surface of the social struggles of its subjects, the film reveals people as more than the problems they experience, and the labels applied to them.


Nira Burstein



Closed Captions [CC]

English, English [cc]


United States


Vacancy Arts, Gigantic Pictures

Bonus Content

Kath Duncan's introduction to Charm Circle


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