This This way she can still achieve what

This chapter focuses on the director Tamhineh Milani because
she played a prominent role in bringing international attention to Iranian
cinema during the 1990s as well as pushing the boundaries of the censorship
laws in Iran. Her films daringly spearhead the issues of stalking, domestic and
emotional abuse, harassment, patriarchy, divorce, and motherhood. Many of these
subjects were seen as taboo in Iranian cinema. This chapter discusses two of
her films that are relevant to female filmmaker’s success in Iranian cinema.
The first film is Two Women, which
came out in 1999, followed by her 2001 film The
Hidden Half.

Tahmineh Milani was born in Iran in 1960 and is considered to
be from the second generation of female filmmakers in Iran.1
This means that she would have been only a teenager during the Iranian Revolution.
There are many women filmmakers that contributed to the Iranian film industry
but I chose to write about Milani because of the skilful way she gets her films
past the censorship boards. When she is applying for film permits she
emphasizes more accepted themes such as motherhood rather than draw attention
to more controversial themes that may challenge the Islamic ideologies. This
way she can still achieve what she wants in her films. The way she uses her
scripts to get around the censorship board and portray what she wants is an art
form in itself. Milani identifies herself as a feminist. She believes that the identity crisis, the double lives of
Iranian people at the present social situation and discrimination against women
are the most pressing problems in Iranian society2.
The central themes of her movies are mostly focused on gender legal
discrimination and unequal gender structure and relations. In a recent
interview she said “For me the best way to change things is by challenging
things and provoking discussion. If this happens then it will bring changes. Therefore,
when I make a movie my aim is to challenge society. Some people don’t like this
and disagree but the most important thing is to talk and be able to publicly
debate these issues. This will help people to think more deeply about issues
that they face.”3
Milani originally studied architecture but when the universities of Iran closed
down during the 1979 Revolution, she started a career in film. This has
influenced many of her films, which are often set in the same time period and
influence her story telling.

    Tamineh Milani’s
1999 film, Two Women is set around
the beginning of the 1979 Revolution. The film begins with one of the main
characters, Roya receiving a phone call from an old friend. Her friend,
Fereshteh, is calling Roya to ask for help as her husband has been brought into
the hospital with life threatening injuries. The film then moves on to tell the
story of how Roya and Fereshteh became friends through a series of flashbacks. Both
women are at university together. Fereshteh is a hardworking and strong willed
person from a poor family. She is extremely clever and pays for her tuition by
tutoring other students. Roya is from a rich family who is having trouble
keeping up in her classes and asks Fereshteh to help her with her studies. From
here, they create a strong friendship. Fereshteh has no interest in marrying
despite appearing to have many suitors. She later attracts a stalker who stops
at nothing to gain her attention. Her stalker quickly turns violent and the
film turns very sinister from this point. Though Fereshteh is a victim, her
father blames her for having unwanted attention and forces her to leave university
and return to her hometown. Soon after, all the universities in Iran close
down. Fereshteh is horrified to find out that her stalker has followed her
home. This concludes in a car chase where Fereshteh is fleeing from Hassan and
ends in disaster. While Fereshteh only injures a child, Hassan kills one of the
others.

1 Maghazei, Malihe .The Role of Iranian
Female filmmakers in The Concious raising Process”, Visiting Fellow, Middle East Centre, London School of Economics
and Political Science, London, 2015

2 Chan B-Phil, Amanda . CULTURAL
FRONTIERS: WOMEN DIRECTORS IN POST-REVOLUTIONARY NEW WAVE IRANIAN CINEMA. International
and Area Studies, University of Pittsburgh, USA. 2016, web.

3 Philips.
Richard. Iranian Director Tamineh Milani Speaks with WSWS. The International
Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI). wsws.org. Web.