Editor’s note: Hamid Dabashi is the author of Iran Without Borders: Towards Critique of a Postcolonial State and Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature at Columbia University in New York. His latest book is The End of Two Illusions: Post-Western Islam (University of California Press, 2022). The views expressed here are his own. Read more opinions on CNN.
News that Oscar-winning Iranian actor Taranee Alidusti was arrested at his home in Tehran on December 17 and taken to the infamous Evin Prison has made its rounds in the media.
Since the start of large-scale social unrest in her home country in mid-September, Aridosti has vigorously denounced the establishment, supported the “women, life and liberty” rebellion and boldly criticized the killing of protesters. Iranian women, many of them young, and their supporters have risen against forced veil-wearing, economic corruption and business failure, and 43 years of crackdown on Islamic extremism.
Ali Dusti represents a vast and diverse spectrum of Iranian female filmmakers and actors. Since the beginning of cinema in their homeland, they have actively put the fate of their country on the silver screen for the whole world to see.
Within 48 hours of Alidusti’s arrest, leading Iranian filmmakers gathered in front of Evin Prison to express their support and solidarity with her. Meanwhile, noted filmmaker Asghar Farhadi, the Oscar-winning director of her films featuring her, has openly defended her. At the same time, famous actors and directors around the world released open letters condemning her arrest. The signatories include Emma Thompson, Mark Rylance, Mark Ruffalo, Ken Loach, Mike Lee, Steve McQueen, Ian McKellen, David Hare, Juliet Stevenson and American-Iranian director Ramin Bahrani. was included.
The ruling government has drawn global attention for its violent crackdown on mostly peaceful protests.
A few years ago, the noted French film critic Jean-Michel Freudon said that the late world-renowned Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami had planned the rest of Iranian cinema in the global spotlight. The same is true of Alidousti today. She was arrested and imprisoned in a beleaguered and violent state dungeon, bringing global attention to her people’s historic struggle for freedom.
From their iconic beginnings, Iranian women have been at the forefront of the film industry in every capacity, from producers and directors to editors, sound engineers, set designers, cinematographers and actors. It is no coincidence that today the word “woman” is at the forefront of the main slogans of the first prominent feminist uprisings across the region.
In the history of Iranian cinema, Ruhangiz Saminejad is remembered as the first woman to dare to break social taboos and cultural conventions, appearing in 1934 as the heroine Gornar in the first Iranian talkie, Low Girl. did. ‘Lor Girl’, also known as ‘Yesterday’s Iran and Today’s Iran’, is the first sound film produced in the Persian language. When Shahraliahi became Iran’s first female filmmaker, she followed the rise of her Forugh Farrokhzad, the first Iranian female filmmaker to gain international attention with the 1963 classic House is Black. opened the door leading to
By the time Marzieh Meshkini made her feature debut in 2000 with The Day I Became a Woman, there was a formidable horde of Iranian female filmmakers behind and in front of the camera, ready to tell their stories properly. was
Today, a wide range of female filmmakers operate in Iran, welcoming Alidusti into a powerful circle of self-expression that the ruling Islamist regime cannot assert or control.Rakhshan Banietemad, Pouran World-renowned filmmakers such as Derakhshandeh, Tahmineh Milani and Marzieh Boroomand have emerged as leading critics of male culture as it remains institutionalized in the ruling government.
The confidence, grace and moral backbone with which Aridosti stands today against bullying and violent nations that have lost their legitimacy entirely did not fall from the sky. It dates back generations to the mid-nineteenth century, when Iranian counterparts Abigail Adams, Mary Wollstonecraft, Susan B. Anthony, Sojourner Truth, Bell Hook, and Angela Davis operated in Iran. It is the result of many women’s rights activists and revolutionaries. , demand and enforce their rights.
From before the constitutional revolution of 1906–1911, which transformed an absolute monarchy into a constitutional monarchy, to every major turning point in Iran’s modern history, conservative, liberal and radical women’s rights activists We have left every stone behind to claim our vision of a better world. The future of herself and her hometown.
Prior to the 2022 Women, Life, Freedom uprising, women were actively involved in other movements. 2009 Green Movement. reform movement in the late 1990s. On International Women’s Day, March 8, 1979, one month after Ayatollah Khomeini’s triumphant return to Iran, she held her first demonstration against the forced wearing of the veil by women. .
Its historic demonstrative power is rooted in the active role of women in the Iranian Revolution of 1977-1979, which overthrew the Pahlavi regime and, before that, the CIA- and MI6-backed Iranian oil industry. brought nationalization. 1953 coup.
But all of that glorious history justifies or perfectly explains the courage, convictions, and principled uprisings of a new generation of women and girls who are at the forefront of today’s mass social uprisings. Not a thing.
Certainly, the male director has not completely forgotten the fate of women in his homeland, which is now flourishing in this riot. and has been almost devoted to reconstructing its cultural position. Another major filmmaker, Jafar Panahi, has produced three of his masterpieces, ‘The Circle’, ‘Crimson Gold’ and ‘Offside’, about Iranian women’s quest for equality and justice. dedicated to the fight.
One of the main charges against Aridosti was posting a picture of herself without a scarf on the internet holding a sign that read “Women, Life and Freedom”. At the time of writing this essay, countless famous actors from all over the world are preparing a campaign to take pictures in solidarity with the sign.
The message of this uprising, championed by Aridosti, extends far beyond her hometown. It had global repercussions, with the landmark 1973 U.S. Supreme Court overturning her Roe v. Wade ruling in June, recognizing a woman’s inalienable right to her own body. jeopardized, the health and well-being of millions of poor Americans were saved. at risk.
The cry of “women, life and freedom” that sent Aridosti to prison is a universal message that can be translated and felt in every language of the world.