Mar 5, 2008

Movie Review: "The Day I Became a Woman"

With this disturbing portrayal of the role of women in Iran, director Marziyeh Meshkini reveals an exciting new voice in Iranian cinema. The script, written by Meshkini's husband, the consummate filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf (Gabbeh, The Peddler), tells several stories.

The first, referring to the film's title, is about Hava, who on the morning of her ninth birthday, is told that she is now a woman. She must wear a chador and may no longer associate with her male playmates. In the most remarkable episode, Ahoo, a young wife, is competing in a bicycle race against dozens of other chador-clad women on a hot dusty road.

As she pulls ahead of the field, her husband pursues her on horseback to take her out of the race and no film chase has ever been more heart-wrenching. With compassion, Meshkini examines a society where women are still the property of men and cannot achieve independence without forgoing emotional attachments.

Iran, 2000 . 78 min.

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