Employing a wealth of vintage film footage, Mania Akbari highlights the role of the male gaze in Iranian cinema and in doing so reclaims the female body from it.
Akbari’s film challenges the cinematic tradition of men telling stories through the representation of women. Employing extracts from dozens of films now banned in Iran, alongside documentary footage of the 1979 uprising and excerpts from her own work, this poetic film essay explores the complexity of women’s roles in Iranian society after the Second World War and the apparent ‘freedom’ that they experienced. Made just prior to the recent Women, Life, Freedom protests, this timely, articulate and provocative film questions how women are presented on the screen and consumed by the viewer, both on the Iranian screen and, ultimately, across the wider landscape of world cinema. ‘I’m not making a film,’ Akbari tells us, ‘I’m gazing into your gaze’.