Director Jafar Panahi (The White Balloon, This is Not a Film) was imprisoned by the Iranian government in 2010, his incarceration followed a turbulent relationship with the censors that began with this film.
A mother sits in a hospital waiting room while her daughter, now herself a mother, discovers the newborn baby is not a boy (as predicted) but a girl. The news is a source of immediate anxiety, indicative of the oppressive discrimination that awaits their future struggle. Cut to the streets of Tehran where two women, recently out of prison, try to evade further institutional sexism.
Each fragment of the narrative is filmed with a different stylistic constraint, merging form and content in a mood of stifling restriction. With incredible performances from a cast of non-professional actors (specifically Sadre Orafaee Nargess Mamizadeh, Mojgan Faramarzi and Maryian Parvin Almani), Panahi’s immersive film holds a brave and unforgiving mirror to the brutal realities of patriarchal injustice.