17 September 2011 ~ 5 Comments

Facing Mirrors

Sometimes you have to be forced to leave your homeland in order to appreciate it more.

I went to see Facing Mirrors, playing at National Geographic Grosvenor Auditorium as part of the All Roads Film Festival. It’s one of the better films I have seen in the past few years, and certainly among the best about a transgender person. But it wasn’t just about being transgender. The two protagonists — Rana and Adineh/Eddie — created the perfect foil, with shades of gray adding complexity to both the characters and the narration. And it’s hard to believe that the story idea was conceived in less than two hours:

Rana and Adineh, two women of opposite background and social class are accidentally brought together to share a journey. Rana, inexperienced, religious and bound by traditions, is forced to drive a cab in order to survive financially. Adineh, wealthy yet rebellious, has escaped from her home. In the middle of the way, Rana realizes that her passenger is a transsexual who is planning on having an operation. For Rana, comprehending and accepting such reality is close to impossible and equal to surpassing all she believes in and traditions she values.

When the straight cisgender woman hits the transgender protagonist in a moment of hysteria and panic, she later explains her reaction as “I thought you were a man and tricked me.” I immediately thought about my own mother who is very much like Rana, working dangerous jobs to make a living for her family contrary to the gender roles she subscribes to, and my heart went out to her despite her transphobic reaction. Throughout the movie, her husband is in prison, but Rana is the one who feels imprisoned by her circumstances. And as a woman violating gender roles to provide for her family, she’s concerned about her safety as much as the transgender protagonist who also feels unsafe, but safety for him requires leaving his family and homeland. At the end, neither one of them is particularly happy even as they get what they want all along. And we are left contemplating the meaning of happiness as it pertains to us.

All the actors did a marvelous job but Shayesteh Irani of Offside fame, was especially  brilliant as the transgender protagonist. She looks a bit like Sheetal Sheth, which means I spent most of the movie crushing over a male character, played by a cisgender woman. I need to deconstruct that at a later time. It’s probably as simple as the fact that I love androgynous and butch all women.

Watch the movie if you get an opportunity. It is in Farsi, subtitled in English.

  • taerpour

    it is too hard to make a film like Facing Mirrors in a country like Iran today.
    It is not enough to watch these kinds of films only at festivals’.
    all of the alert people should have a share to promote these films and ask the theaters or TV channels of their land to be active and responsible in this case.
    There are millions of people like Raana living in different societies around the world…and films like Facing Mirrors can change their attitudes about trans genders.
     
    let’s believe in: the stories shapes the world     

  • taerpour

    it is too hard to make a film like Facing Mirrors in a country like Iran today.
    It is not enough to watch these kinds of films only at festivals’.
    all of the alert people should have a share to promote these films and ask the theaters or TV channels of their land to be active and responsible in this case.
    There are millions of people like Raana living in different societies around the world…and films like Facing Mirrors can change their attitudes about trans genders.
     
    let’s believe in: the stories shapes the world     

  • taerpour

    it is too hard to make a film like Facing Mirrors in a country like Iran today.
    It is not enough to watch these kinds of films only at festivals’.
    all of the alert people should have a share to promote these films and ask the theaters or TV channels of their land to be active and responsible in this case.
    There are millions of people like Raana living in different societies around the world…and films like Facing Mirrors can change their attitudes about trans genders.
     
    let’s believe in: the stories shapes the world     

  • Beatrizfarlett73

    I’m not North American nor Iranian. But, I feel the enormous responsability to support this film.  Because, this film is an open door for so many humans to express their situation and be strong. Through Art we all become one.  Thank you! 

  • Beatrizfarlett73

    I’m not North American nor Iranian. But, I feel the enormous responsability to support this film.  Because, this film is an open door for so many humans to express their situation and be strong. Through Art we all become one.  Thank you! 

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