Bemani | Chicago Reader

Bemani

This emotionally searing if cinematically unoriginal cri de coeur uses the tragic stories of three young women to demonstrate the medieval attitudes that persist in rural Iran. Director Dariush Mehrjui focuses on faces and bodies as the loci of emotion: the look of bemused pleasure on a soldier's face as he views the designs in a young woman's rug shop contrasts with his tears after she is beheaded by her brothers, who accuse her of prostitution for merely receiving a male visitor in her shop. In another scene a tyrannical father publicly beats his daughter as he drags her out of the medical school where she has secretly enrolled. The title character's family marries her off to her much older landlord in return for three years' free rent; her inevitable rebellion has disastrous consequences for all. The stories are skillfully constructed to make some women's “solution”—self-immolation—seem like their best option. In Farsi with subtitles. 90 min.

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