International Women's Rights Day.  6 films featuring women in search of freedom

International Women’s Rights Day. 6 films featuring women in search of freedom

“Chronicles of Tehran”

Chronicles of Tehran
by Ali Asgari and Alireza Khatami
Drama. 1:17 a.m. In theaters March 13.

Dress your daughter for back to school; go to get your driving license or have a job interview: so many acts of daily life which, in Iran, do not come naturally. Imbued with humor, the nine sketches making up this film were shot in nine sequence shots and in a fixed frame.

If the bodies and faces of Iranian citizens appear on the screen, the figures of power who face them in each scene are never filmed. Ministerial, administrative employee or business manager: only the voices of totalitarianism resonate in the face of these nine characters in search of freedom. “We look at how a regime controls all personal aspects of individuals’ lives, such as the body, sexuality and identity. (…) This omnipresent regulation infiltrates everyone’s lives, eradicating the private space where resistance could flourish,” explained the directors upon the release of this feature film shot in seven days, and without authorization, in Tehran.

The penultimate sketch features a director forced to gradually abandon each element of his script, in the face of an implacable censor. In 2022, when their previous film was released, Just one night, the two filmmakers gave us an interview in which they affirmed that they felt bound by a moral obligation to bear witness to life in this totalitarian Iran. “Yes, censorship constitutes a real obstacle, a limiting constraint which recently made us give up on a film project. In the eyes of the censors, there is always a political or religious reading of the work, a sign of the paranoia of the system,” they explained to us.

Last spring, just after the announcement of the selection of Chronicles of Tehran At the Cannes Film Festival, Iranian authorities questioned, one by one, each actor in the film. In this country which experienced the repression of the “Woman, Life, Freedom” revolt movement (the death of Mahsa Amini, in September 2022, moved the whole world), the Iranian regime has, clearly, still not loosened its grip on ‘vice. However, beyond the personal risks they face, Ali Asgari and Alireza Khatami continue to film the ravages of totalitarian rule. Their film is a hymn to freedom. A courageous, accomplished and necessary work.

Our opinion: PPP

Catherine Escrive

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