Our Summer in Tehran
Justine Shapiro, USA, 2010, color, video, 59'
Seeking a new film perspective on Iran not characterized by news footage of demonstrations and fanatical ayatollahs, filmmaker Justine Shapiro and her son Mateo pack their bags for a summer in Tehran. Just before landing, Shapiro puts on her headscarf and wears it outside continually from then on. Indoors, where she gets to know three Iranian women from the middle classes, she usually removes the headscarf - in contrast to her hosts, who aren't allowed to appear before the camera bareheaded. As she intended, Shapiro manages to capture Iranian life behind closed doors. To her surprise, she forms a relationship most easily with a deeply religious mother of two who is married to a member of the Revolutionary Guard; her contact with an actress, a single mother like herself, is more complicated. And Mateo turns out to be her trump card. His immediate bond with Orang the babysitter helps to push the film forward and provide that alternative perspective Shapiro was looking for.