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The Day I Became a Woman

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: The Day I Became a Woman

Starring: Shabnam Toloui, Azizeh Sedighi
Director: Marzieh Meshkini
Rated: NR
RunTime: 78 Minutes
Release Date: January 2001
Genres: Drama, Foreign

*Also starring: Hassan Nebhan, Sirous Kahvarinegad, Badr Iravani

Reviewer Roundup
1.  Steve Rhodes review follows movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review
2.  Harvey Karten read the review ---

Review by Steve Rhodes
2½ stars out of 4

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 reinforcement.

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

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