I saw a great film this week, No One Knows About Persian Cats. It's available on Netflix streaming. This will sound incredibly corny, but it made me feel grateful for America and was very thought-provoking.
So, Negar and Askhan are indie rock musicians living in Tehran, where being a musician means dodging the neighbors who will report you to the police and soundproofing every bit of your performance space to avoid detection. Askhan has just been released from jail for playing music. They dream about leaving Tehran for a tour of Europe and emigrating, and are referred by a producer friend to Nader, a movie and music bootlegger who has underground connections for getting them fake papers to leave Iran. Nader wants them to play a concert to play one last show before they leave Tehran, and takes them to all his other musician friends to line up bands and audition others for leaving for the European tour. So cut into lots of different music video type montages is their story about the struggle of making music illicitly and anxiety about getting out of Iran.
It's just incredible to think about living in a place where women aren't allowed to sing in public, where the police will come and arrest you for being at a party where music is playing, where there's no freedom of expression and media is censored.
Here's a NPR story on the film with more details about the filmmakers. If you have Netflix, go watch it.