Price: $310.00

    Code: 2177

    Directed by: Mehrdad Oskouei
    2004, 52 minutes
    Purchase: $310 Classroom Rental: $125

    On the southern Iranian island of Qeshm in the Persian Gulf, the women must wear a headscarf, but also a special type of burka, a pinching mask of black bands pressing against the eyebrows and nose, and ending in a point just above the mouth. Against strict religious rules, these women talk openly in this film about their physical and emotional suffering. We never wanted to appear before a camera, but now we do, one woman proclaims, we may wear a burka, but we are human beings. We breathe and live. Appearing before a camera, before an audience, is their only chance for escape. Their only other option, which occurs frequently on the island, is suicide. The film, in fact, begins with the funeral of Samireh, a young woman who hanged herself from a fan with her shawl. At the funeral, her grieving husband expresses the following sentiment, A woman is like a pair of shoes. When one is gone, you can find another one. But what am I supposed to do with the children?

    Interweaving candid interviews with both the men and women of the island, with images of daily life (the island is regularly plagued by draughts and other catastrophes), filmmaker Mehrdad Oskouei documents one of the most extreme examples of face-veiling and makes every effort to give these bullied women their beauty and soul back.

    Subjects & Collections

    Festivals & Awards

    * Winner, Grand Prize, Montreal Human Rights International Film Festival, 2006
    * Winner, Special Prize, Mediawave International Film Festival, 2006
    * Official Selection, Amsterdam International Documentary Festival, 2005
    * Official Selection, International Film Festival on Human Rights, 2005
    * Winner, Best Film, Krakow International Film Festival, 2005
    * Winner, Horizons Award, Munich International Documentary Festival, 2005
    * Winner, One World International Premier Award, England, 2005
    * Winner, Best Director, International Fajr Film Festival, 2005
    * Winner, Best Young Filmmaker of the Year, Iranian Film Ceremony, 2005
    * Winner, Best Documentary Filmmaker, Iranian Film Ceremony, 2005
    * Official Selection, Thessaloniki Int'l Documentary Film Festival, 2005
    * Official Selection, Amensty International Film Festival, 2005
    * Official Selection, Internatioanl Festival of Women's films ASSEN, 2005


    "An eerie look at the literally maddening lives of Iranian women on the Persian Gulf island of Qeshm, where they are forced to wear a pinching black face mask." -Los Angeles Times

    "Filmmaker Oskouei's penetrating documentary presents a sympathetic portrait of these women who do not rebel, but rather talk with surprising candor about their unhappiness." - Video Librarian

    "Highly recommended! This cultural documentary offers insights into the unquestioned tradition of patriarchy and the dimension of deprivation and suffering women experience."- Educational Media Reviews Online