This time last year, my mum and I were getting ready to go to Iran for the Hamedan’s Children Film Festival, where I was part of the International Jury. There were articles published in Bangladeshi newspapers, such as this one:http://www.thedailystar.net/story.php?nid=102961
There are laws in Iran regarding dress code, especially for women. What we had read before going was that we would need to wear “loose fitting coat (at least knee length) and a headscarf.” We were worried about what we would be able to wear because we had only started getting ready for our trip a week before.. So we showed up to the airport looking like this, me wearing my grandfather’s shirt and a shawl as a headcovering:
Little did we know that Iranian women do whatever they can to push the boundaries of the Islamic dress code imposed on them. They are very independent, and the area of Tehran we were staying in, we saw women driving, women out until very late at night/early in the morning. When we went to the market, we saw women everywhere. Women dressed in traditional hijabs:
Women pushing the boundaries of what we thought their clothing would be like, whenever they can, they show hair, and wear tightfitting clothing:
I even bought myself an Irani style manteau from the market, which I now wear as a light jacket in Spring and Fall in New York:
We ended up mostly wearing salwar kameezes that we brought with us, and we fit right in!
And of course, there was the film festival as well ;). Every morning we would be taken to a screening center where we would watch a couple movies and then after lunch back at the hotel, we would be taken back there to watch more short films, long films, animated films. It was a very interesting experience. We watched movies from Turkey, Portugal, Spain, Norway, Germany, Latvia, Sweden, Poland and many other countries.
My favorites included:
The Revolt of the Mouses (http://www.makeandplay.com/revoltofthemouses/), an animated film about the war between paper and technology.
Puertas [Doors] (http://www.promofest.org/films/puertas), where as a bedtime story, the main character’s grandfather reads the story of Ali Baba and the 40 thieves, and the usage of “open sesame” in his life that follows.
It’s My Turn (http://www.listal.com/movie/bende-sira), where a group of kids don’t have enough money to all go and watch movies, so they take turns going with their combined money, and the “movie watcher” comes back and explains the movie to the rest of the group.
Rainbow Troops (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1301264/), set in Indonesia about the hardships of growing up in poverty, but instead of blaming poverty, it shows that “the best things in life can’t be bought with money”
and Morrison Gets a Baby Sister (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1153113/ ,http://www.zlinfest.cz/en/film/detail?id=880) where Morrison, a five year old, doesn’t understand why his parents want another child and he runs away in the middle of the night, taking with him his newborn sister.
We watched all the movies, and voted for our choices of the winners of Best Animation, Best Short Film, Best Full-length Film and Best Video in Tehran. But the actual festival was taking place in Hamedan.
(The Golden Butterfly – the sign of the film festival, and tents – enthusiasm!)
Because of security reasons, we weren’t allowed to watch the films with the public, but we were taken sightseeing all over Hamedan.
To the famous rock caves:
To nearby mountains:
To Avacenna (Ibn Sina)’s tomb: