Without my Daughter

    • Alexis Kouros, Kari Tervo
    • Finland
    • 2002
    • 90 min
    • IDFA Competition for Feature-Length Documentary
    In the eighties, American Betty Mahmoody became widely known with her book ‘Not without my daughter.’ In this publication, she described her escape with her then six-year-old daughter Mahtob from the Iranian capital Teheran, where according to herself she was held captive by her husband for eighteen months. The story was adapted by Hollywood for the screen in 1990 as NOT WITHOUT MY DAUGHTER, which will also be screened at this years festival. The 90-minute documentary WITHOUT MY DAUGHTER tells the other side of this story. It is the sad tale of the father, Dr. Sayyed Bozorg Mahmoody, who was left behind and has been trying in vain to localise his daughter and get in touch with her for sixteen years. Both Mahmoody and friends of the family accuse Betty Mahmoody of lying. ‘Many people here in Teheran were deeply dismayed by the book’, Alice Sharif, a former friend, explains. ‘For example, we could leave the house whenever we wanted to. And that’s only one lie.’ Bozorg Mahmoody, an anaesthetist who because of the war with Iraq returned to his native country in the early eighties to support his people, is deeply offended by the book. He does not want to speak with his ex-wife anymore, but he does with his daughter. However, all phone calls remain unanswered, as do his e-mails. On behalf of the father, the documentary filmmaker travels to America, where Mahmoody is an undesirable alien now. The efforts are all in vain. The import of the book and film are still greater than the longing of a deserted and forgotten father.


    • 90 min
    • color
    • 35mm
    • Spoken languages: English
    Alexis Kouros, Kari Tervo
    Kari Tervo for Tarinatalo-Storyhouse Ltd., Alexis Kouros for Dream Catcher Productions
    Jari Pollari
    Riitta Poikselka
    Toni Partti

    IDFA history

    IDFA Competition for Feature-Length Documentary

    Joris Ivens Competition

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