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Three Sundance Films Examine the Iran Experience in Time

Drama by filmmaker Maryam Keshavarz Persian version opens with Layla Mohammadi as a young Iranian-American woman who Wearing a homemade burkini with a full Islamic face covering and a tie bikini bottom. It’s a provocative image inspired by Keshavarz’s own audacity—she was born in New York to Iranian parents and wore it to a masquerade ball in Brooklyn. “It was just my wacky look, and I won best costume,” Keshavarz said. “It is as much a commentary on the overexposure of our bodies in America as it is on the obsession with covering our bodies in much of the Muslim world. In some ways, they are reflections of each other.”

Persian version , A Cross-Cultural Family Tale, premiered at Sundance in January , was presented at this year’s festival by Iran One of three films directed by American female directors. In the Documentary Competition, the festival will also screen Joonam, Iranian-American director Sierra Urich’s portrait of her mother and grandmother, mostly shot in Vermont and spent together around the world The festival will screen Shayda, Iranian-Australian director Noora Niasari’s drama about a mother and daughter living in an Australian women’s shelter.

Sierra Urich’s Joonam.

Sierra Urich’s Joonam. Provided by Sundance Institute

These three With warmth, concreteness and often snarky wit, the film tells the story of an Iranian mother and daughter’s struggle to understand and protect each other in a situation of trauma and displacement. All three movies were released before the news about the 70-year- Already in the production Mahsa Amini Sr. died in police custody in Tehran in September, sparking Iran’s latest uprising. But the resulting protests, led by Iranian women and girls, have added new urgency to these stories.

Keshavarz, whose TV series about Iranian youth culture, Circumstance Winning an Audience Award at Sundance, it has been banned in the country since its release. She sees the recent protests as the outgrowth of decades of simmering dissent, noting that for Iranian women, “it’s very important to them that people see them and they don’t go unnoticed.”

Shayda, starring Iranian-French actress Zar Amir Ibrahimi (last year with her role in Holy Spider won Best Actress in a Leading Role at Cannes), based on Nyasari’s eight-month experience living with her mother in an Australian women’s shelter when she was 5 years old. Season of celebration and beauty. “In Iranian society, there has been so much suffering and war in history,” said Tehran-born Nyasari. “Part of the culture always comes back to light, dance, music, joy, poetry, cultural connections and our mothers. Taught us.” 681 Nyasari was in the editing room when the Iranian protests began. “We had countless sleepless nights,” Nyasaari said. “With all the news and trying to reach our families, it was really hard for us to focus on the film the first few weeks of editing because we were just devastated and felt so powerless.” At some point, however, Neil Yasari’s decision to finish the film was his way of keeping the situation under control. “This is our way of expanding the ‘Women’s Lives Free’ movement,” Nyasaari said. “What Iranian mothers and daughters are doing is amazing. I am proud to be an Iranian woman at this time and to be able to support this movement in any way I can.”

Persian version by Maryam Keshavarz.

Provided by Sundance InstituteThe Persian Version

Urich started writing a documentary about the women in her family five years ago, primarily to examine her own relationship with Iran, a country she longs to visit but has yet to visit, in part because Her mother’s worried about her safety there. Urich spent long hours photographing her often reluctant subject, a mother and grandmother who had left Iran after the revolution to start a new life in the United States. They come out of the bathroom because the cameras are still rolling. “Looking back, all the frustrations I had with my mom, I think I put it on her, but I can’t put it on authoritarian countries,” Urich said. “I can’t be in the kitchen yelling at the country.”

While Ulrich was in the editorial room, the protests in Iran erupted and she suddenly had a new feeling about herself. recognize your own anger. “My own frustration was not being able to access this part of my identity that was so important to me—and suddenly the rest of the community was reflecting the same thing,” Urich said. “It’s like, my God, this fuel that’s been boiling under the surface is finally boiling. And I’m a bubble in the boiling.”

this The story first appeared in January question. Click here to subscribe 2022.

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