It features the story of three different generations: grandmother, mother and daughter. They are lost in the past, the present and the future, living together but in their own worlds, without knowing about each other. Three Women is Manijeh Hekmat’s second film. She is an important and awarded figure in Iranian cinema and this time she shares her thoughts with Tequila Bajo Cero from her country.
“There is a big gap among the three generations in Iran and Minoo represents a generation who has a lot of experience from the period of the Shah (a persian term for a king), revolution, war and the Islamic state. However, she has not been influential to the next generation because of a general problem in Iran: lack of historical memory, memory that would remember the history,” says Hekmat.
Minoo is a weaver and an expert rug-maker who lives in her own dreams and obsessions trying to repair a valuable old rug. She must face along the film the terrible lost of everything, the rug, which disappears, Pegah, her daughter who leavaes without any particular destination in mind and arrives in one of Iran’s remotest areas and discovers other layer of the society, and her mother, who is forgetful and gets lost and can’t find her way home.
Three Women reflects the importance of the family in the Iranian culture and the role that a woman plays in it. In the past 30 years, the family and its ties have had a big impact on social actions and behaviour. Grandfathers and grandmothers could resolve most of the family problems and issues, but this has changed, explains the Iranian filmmaker “unfortunately, there is not such role for this generation at present time. Women as a mothers or grand mothers have been the axis of kindness in the families but now Iranian women are involved in their social activities and should bear two responsibilities: playing the main role in the families and also carrying out their social activities like men”.
The rug plays a major role in the lives of Iranians. In the movie it is a sign of identity and common sign of all generations indicating mutual understanding: “each knot in an Iranian carpet is part of our history”. Most of the women who are weaving carpets are actually weaving the history and unfortunately, we can see in this film that as in the history of Iran, not all carpets have been completed since there were wars, plunders etc.” she explained.
Hekmat’s first movie Women’s Priso, deals with turbulent times in Iran and sensitive topics. She faced several challenges in producing the film as well as screening it. The film has been at more than 80 international film festivals and has received seven prizes.
“After Women’s Prison, I could not make any film for four years. I could through endless efforts screen the film in many Iranian cities and the most important result was to show the general situation in prisons in Iran, and fortunately, it made some changes and developments for the prisoners”. Hekmat’s debut feature film is based on her own research on Iranian women.
Social themes dominate her works and women play the leading role in her films. It is said that since the Islamic Revolution in 1979, Iran has suffered a regression in women’s rights and social politics. Approximately six million people have left the country due to religious oppression.
The current situation for a woman filmmaker in Iran is as Hekmat says: “There is no difference between a male or a female filmmaker but the difference is in their opinions”. However after the post-revolutionary Iranian cinema, there have been 22 women filmmakers and the number is increasing year by year with young female film directors. There are around 200 female short and documentary filmmakers as well.
Hekmat has made several documentaries along her career and they still have an important influence in her films. She believes that a documentary film can show the reality of the society and can work perfectly in fiction films in order to make it more believable. Her style is to film like a documentary the general atmosphere of her feature films before the production.
Manijeh Hekmat is working in her next project The Lullabies, (as in the quiet, gentle songs to put children to sleep). “That portrays the lullabies of greater Iran (Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan) as messages of peace, friendship and mothers’ love. Our world needs the calmness and lullabies can play such role too!”
We want to thank Erika Poikolainen for her help on this interview
On a persian rug
Rocío Adelita de las Pistolas