Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Roozi ke zan shodam (The Day I Became a Woman)

Arresting mini-trilogy set on Kish Island in Iran that will move audiences for its amazing visuals and a compelling story about women in Iran.

The film shows three women from three different ages each with very compelling stories that define what women in Iran have to face in their lives and told as an allegory of the stages of their existence: childhood, married life and old age. The first segment is about a little girl, Hava, on her ninth birthday longing to continue playing with a little boy but forced to become a woman and to retreat into modesty. The second segment shows an all-female bicycle racing and Ahoo being distracted by her husband demanding she abandon her cycling dreams and then divorcing her, then and there. The third segment is about an old widow Hoora that goes on a shopping spree buying everything that she was always denied.

This is a powerful statement about social oppression of women, but what makes it outstanding is the way is told, as there is nothing political shown or any explanations, just the facts in very simplistic stories which makes it even more impact full. Chapeau to Marzieh Makhmalbaf for her storytelling and directing skills and its hard to believe that it is her first film as looks and feels like a film from a very accomplished director.

Cinematography is remarkable with amazing compositions from outstanding landscapes of that beautiful island and performances are acceptable from mainly non-actors, but this is a film to watch because the visuals and story. I particularly highly enjoyed the last segment that has absolutely amazing surrealistic visuals and sharp dark humor, but all three segments are very good.

The movie has many honors in festivals around the world since premiered at the 2000 Venice Film Festival were won the CinemAvvenire Award for Best First Film, the Isvema Award and the Unesco Award. Other awards include the Silver Hugo for Best First Film at the 2000 Chicago fest, New Currents Award at 2000 Pusan fest and Best Director at the 2000 Thessaloniki fest.

This is a film I definitively recommend to all women in the world for the story it tells, but it’s a movie that surely cinephiles will highly enjoy too.


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