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DOCUMENTARY


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Women Inside Today’s Iran


IR AN Director: Mohsen Ostad Ali Makhmalbaf Producer: Mohsen Ostad Ali Makhmalbaf


Screenwriter: Mohsen Ostad Ali Makhmalbaf Cinematographer: Reza Sameni Editor: Babak Heidari 2009/color/52 min.


MOHSEN OSTAD ALI MAKHMALBAF


Born In Tehran in 1982, Mohsen Ostad Ali Makhmalbaf graduated from the University of Applied Sciences, where he studied film editing in 2006. Makhmalbaf has made several short documentaries, both film and television and edited feature length films. We’ll Get Used to It is his feature film debut.


IR AN Director: Rakhshan Bani-Etemad Producer: Rakhshan Bani-Etemad Cinematographer: Reza Teimoori Editor: Reza Bahrami Nezhad 2009/color/47 min.


RAKHSHAN BANI-ETEMAD Screenwriter and director Rakhshan Bani-Etemad was born in Tehran in 1954. She has a BA in film directing from the Dramatic Arts University, first working for Iranian TV making documentary films. Considered one of Iran’s best directors, she has won several international awards.


Selected Filmography Mainline (2006) Under the Skin of the City (2000) Baran & The Native (1999) The Last Visit with Iran Daftari (1995) The May Lady (1998) Nargess (1991)


We’ll Get Used to It


Documentarian Mohsen Ostad Ali Makhmalbaf ventures inside the walls of a Tehran shelter for runaway girls to introduce us to five variously troubled young women, each of them heroic in her own way.


Delicate, orphaned Yageneh used to wander the streets in a fog; glower- ing, hard-shelled Shahnaz tells us, “The more unhappy you are, the more homeless you become.” Giddy, clinging Hanieh seems in sore need of psychiatric help, while soft-voiced Farzaneh, often beaten by her father, admits, “I like to be alone; the people in my life were all passers-by.” And when the parents of cheery, solicitous Behnaz come to visit, we see family dysfunction at its worst: her arrogant father rages, screams and compares his daughter to a mad dog that must be put down by lethal injection; Behnaz’s compliant mother does nothing to defend her; her unhappy little brother buries his head in her chest. It is a moment of profound despair.


Preceded by:


We Are Half of Iran’s Population For modern-day women in dictatorial Iran, the strictures of Islamic law can be cruelly unjust. In the months before the volatile and still widely disputed presi- dential election of June 2009, veteran Iranian filmmaker Rakhshan Bani-Etemad trained cameras and microphones on scores of her countrywomen as they vented about the burning concerns of second-class citizenship: limited job and educa- tional opportunities, draconian marriage and divorce laws, and male-on-female violence.


These assorted teachers, entrepreneurs, journalists, students and ordinary citizens—all part of a women’s coalition the regime detests—paint a grim picture of formalized social oppression in Iran. “I cannot even use the phrase ‘women’s movement’ in Iranian newspapers,” reporter Jila Bani-Yaqoub laments. Many of her co-interviewees are speaking aloud for the first time (and some fear showing their faces, given the likelihood of retribution).


After assembling the footage, Bani-Etemad showed it to the presidential candidates, who react on camera with various degrees of concern. But one candidate refused to participate—namely the incumbent, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The controversial declaration of his victory led to days of historic protest during which dozens of Iranian dissidents were killed and thousands more were jailed— including three of the women, Jila Bani-Yaqoub among them, interviewed here.


—BILL GALLO FOCUS ON IRANIAN CINEMA 157


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