Friday March 9, 2018 @6:30 pm
WWAC Continues the Series: Understanding Iran Through Film
With a Screening of “The Hidden Half,” directed by Tahmineh Milani
Presented by Professor Eric Hooglund. with Q & A to follow
New Venue: Center Congregational Church, Memorial Hall
193 Main St., Brattleboro
In The Hidden Half an official from the President’s Office is sent from Tehran to hear the final appeal of a woman political prisoner in Shiraz, who has been sentenced to death. The official’s wife of nearly 20 years, Fereshteh Samimi, writes him a letter to read when he reaches the hotel – the story of her student days during the 1978-79 Revolution. We see her story in flashbacks as he reads: she leaves her province on scholarship, joins a youth group, avoids arrest, and comes under the sway of a suave older man, Roozbeh Javid, a literary-magazine editor. As she tells her husband about the hidden half of her life — he had been a student studying in the USA during the Revolution and never had asked her about her earlier life — Fereshteh asks him to listen to the ‘hidden story’ of the woman facing execution. She is a woman like herself who had been caught up in the revolution, but unlike her did not manage to evade arrest. Now, she is facing execution for having participated in the very same activities, as had his wife.
Tahmineh Milani is Iran’s leading professional woman film director, screenwriter, and producer whose films have won awards both in Iran and at international film festivals. Even though her films feature strong female characters who challenge traditional and conventional norms about women and their presence in Iranian society, they are very popular in Iran. ‘The Hidden Half,’ which was released in 2001, was the first Iranian movie to depict the 1978-79 Revolution from the viewpoint of the secular groups that “lost” the Revolution, and it resulted in authorities arresting her briefly after its release. Her articulate denunciation of state efforts at censorship and intimidation led to her quick release and more than a decade of highly acclaimed Iranian films by both men and women directors dealing with feminist issues.
Our presenter, Prof. Eric Hooglund, has devoted his life to studying, researching and teaching about Iran and is always pleased to learn of efforts by others to promote an understanding of Iran. After his M.A. and Ph.D studies in International Relations/ Middle East Area Studies at Johns Hopkins University, Prof. Hooglund has had a long career with many teaching and research positions, both in the U.S. and overseas, most recently at Bates College, Lewiston, Maine and then at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Lund University, Lund, Sweden. Since returning to his native Maine in 2013, he had taught at the Senior College, University of Maine in Farmington, most recently offering a course there on Contemporary Iranian film.
Presentation and screening begin at 7:00.
We invite you once again to come at 6:30 for a taste of Iran, with Iranian pastries and tea.