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ZINAT

Iran, 1994 (MIFF 1995)

Director: Ebrahim Mokhtari

A seemingly simple matter - that of a woman continuing to work after marrying—is the cause for consternation and calamity in Ebrahim Mokhtan's Zinat.The young rural healthcare nurse of the title, vital to her village's wellbeing, is soon to be wed. In fundamentalist Islamic Iran this implicitiy-but absolutely-means she must devote herself to her husband, his family and domestic dubes rather than pursue any potential­ly more satisfying career away from the hearth.

Constantly in opposition, to expectations placed upon her and her own torn sense of duty and self, Zinat's wish to be both wife and worker is essentially unfathomable to her parents and husband. Set in the Gulf region, with its stronger Arabic rather than Persian influences, this contra­diction is reflected in the very minutiae of daily village life-married women must wear full pur­dah yet the health workers uniform disallows it.

Controversial documentarist Ebrahim Mokhtan's first fiction feature is a finely detailed, complex and deeply-felt tale that succinctly cap­tures the conflict between centuries-old tradi­tions and contemporary social needs and realities. Mokhtan carefully structures Zinat's crit­icisms, and the result is a powerful and insightful look at the intricate and insidious nature of theocratic tyranny through the struggle of a courageous female character.

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