Marzieh Meshkini's THE DAY I BECAME A WOMAN (ROOZI KHE ZAN SHODAM) tells
three short stories, the first touching, the second tragic and the third
comedic, after which they are briefly brought together. These simple
episodes are all admirable but rarely engaging. And, although the movie
comes in at a mere 78 minutes, 10 would have sufficed. After about 3
minutes, each of the stories has made its rather straightforward point quite
gracefully. The next 20 minutes of each adds little other than needless
The first story concerns a 9-year-old girl named Hava (Fatemeh Cherag Akhar)
who is about to lose her freedom and her childhood. At that age, she is
required to always be covered in a chador and not play with male friends
anymore. Using a stick as a crude sundial to tell when the dreaded hour of
noon arrives, which will signal the end of her youth, she tries her best to
enjoy the time she has left.
The second story, which might be called "Pedal Ahoo Pedal," has Ahoo
(Shabnam Toloui) in a bicycle race. As she burns up the road, her husband
rides alongside her on horseback, divorcing her on the spot with the help of
a mullah who rides along on another horse. The mullah, in the story's only
memorable line, calls her bicycle, "the devil's mount." Toloui's acting is
exquisite, showing her pain and determination with eye expressions alone.
The last story is about a senile grandmother (Azizeh Sedighi) who takes a
large inheritance and goes on a big shopping spree. Everything from a
refrigerator to a bed, all in crates, follows her wheelchair like a Werner
Herzog designed caravan.
It's always hard understanding someone else's religion, but the images shown
of Islam in this picture give one a feeling of sad repression. And it is
the images alone that stay with you after this film is over.
THE DAY I BECAME A WOMAN runs a surprisingly long feeling 1:17. The film is
in Farsi with English subtitles. It is not rated but would probably be a G
since there isn't anything offensive.
Copyright © 2001 Steve Rhodes