Prominent filmmaker, artist and actress Mania Akbari reclaims her body—and that of all the other women in Iranian film. Using almost a hundred excerpts spanning Iran's film history, from the silent era to just after the Islamic Revolution—films that have all since been banned—she tells a story of liberation, exploitation, emancipation and ultimately oppression.
Dancing women, women eager to marry, intoxicated women, women in underwear, running women in short dresses: all filmed from a male perspective, with a male gaze. Even in the free years before the revolution, we were oppressed, Akbari points out powerfully in this confrontational essay.
The excerpts, which take on a more documentary character around the period of the revolution, are interspersed with shots of Akbari herself, who is getting a floral tattoo on her breasts. In the voice-over she addresses the male directors: “I’m not making a film, I’m gazing into your gaze.”