Friday, June 25, 2004

I found this in Blogger news when I logged in today. Here's to Iranian female bloggers!:

So Farsi So Good

Blogging boom gives Iranian women a voice: "Take one exasperated Iranian woman. Add a computer. Hook it up to the internet. 'And you have a voice in a country where it's very hard to be heard ...'" Nice! Maybe that should be in our tour.
– Biz [6/23/2004 11:59:05 AM]

Speaking of Iranian women, I did see The Circle and Secret Ballot. They're both films that aren't that great as movies, but they do raise some important issues. Of course, these issues are handled much better in other films. Secret Ballot was the worse of the two. It moved very slowly. I literally fast-forwarded through scenes to get to the dialogue. The main issue raised in this film is that although Iranian women have to ask their husbands permission to do everything else, voting is the one decision that she can make on her own independent of her husband. There were several women in the film who were covered Afghan-burka style, which the filmmaker meant to signify as being the truly oppressed women, not the ballot-official who was just wearing a scarf and chador. There's also one point where a 12 yr old girl asks to vote. The ballot-official says that you have to be 16 to vote. The girl's mom says, "Hey if she's old enough to marry at 12, she should be old enough to vote." You can see the look of shock on the ballot-official's face and you she wants to say, "If you're 12, you shouldn't be getting married anyway," but she holds her peace and politely says that she must follow the law. Secret Ballot is one of several Iranian films that seeks to expose the backwardness of the tribes in southern Iran. A much better film that does this in a very entertaining way is Aroos Atash (the Bride of Fire). The Circle, however, seeks to expose the oppression of women in the city, thus it was banned. The idea here is that the government is helpless against ancient traditions in the tribes but they themselves have cause the suffering in cities. No government wants to be told that they have done that, so these films are banned. The Circle also lags at many points (too many long closeups) and in the end nothing is resolved. You don't find out what happens to any of the characters, or what happened to them before the film started. You're sort of just given a snapshot of a couple of hours in their lives. I would recommend this film if you want to know more about how women are really treated in Iranian cities. I don't recommend it if you're looking for excitement or entertainment. It's more art-house than that.

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