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THE DAY I BECAME A WOMAN
USA: The Shooting Gallery
UK: Artificial Eye
Cast: Fatemeh Cherag Akhar, Shabnam Toloui, Azizeh Sedighi, Hassan Nebhan, Shahr Banou Sisizadeh, Ameneh Passand, Sirous Kahvarinegad, Badr Iravani
Director: Marzieh Meshkini
Language: Farsi (English subtitles)
USA & UK: 78 mins
UK Certificate: U
USA Release Date: 6 April 2001 (Limited Release)
UK Release Date: 28 December 2001
The director Marzieh Meshkini is the wife of renouned Iranian film director/writer Mohsen Makhmalbaf and THE DAY I BECAME A WOMAN is about the status of women in Eastern societies. As Marzieh Meshkini explains about the film:
"They see the social functions of women inferior to those of men and think of women as consumers rather than producers. Upon learning that a newborn is a girl in these societies, the family and friends console the parents by wishing them a baby boy for their next child. THE DAY I BECAME A WOMAN is about women whose problem is being who they are: women. They are chained in their houses not because they are hated, but because they are loved. In order to gain individual independence and social presence, they have no choice but to forego their emotional attachments."
Set in Iran, where just being a woman is in itself a social problem, THE DAY I BECAME A WOMAN looks at three generations of women.
Episode 1: Hava (Eve)
On the morning of the day she turns 9, Hava is kept from joining her friends to play outside of the house. She is warned by her mother and grandmother that she has become a woman. Learning that she was born at noon, Hava insists she should be given another hour to go out as a girl one last time. This is the only way Hava can say a sad and final farewell to her friends
Episode 2: Ahoo (Gazelle)
A young woman is competing in a women's biking race. The girl leading the way is continually being pursued by her husband, in-laws, and the elders of her clan who are riding on their horses to catch up with her, trying to persuade her to return to her family life. They remind her, increasingly threateningly that if she continues this simple pastime, she will be thrown out of the house. She ignores them and continues the race, but in the end is forced to give up.
Episode 3: Houra (Black-eyed Beauty)
This episode starts out in an airport concourse where an old woman, confined to a wheelchair, makes her way through to buy everything she has never been able to have during her life: refrigerators, television sets, dishwashers, an iron etc. She hires a local young boy to assist her in this shopping spree and she will have them taken to a beach which is to become her final, perfect home.
Acclaimed at festivals around the world, THE DAY I BECAME A WOMAN has won an impressive number of prizes including the UNESCO prize for best film at the Venice Festival 2000, and the award of best film at the Oslo Festival, 2000.