The Hidden Half
I watched Tahmineh Milani’s The Hidden Half. She is an Iranian director and was actually arrested for a time following the release of this film. The Hidden Half was the first Iranian film to show actions leading up to and following the Islamic Revolution.
I can’t say that this film was very enjoyable but it was definitely interesting to watch. The lead character Fereshteh may not be seen as very feminist by our standards, but in post-revolution Iran her actions would definitely be seen as feminist and rebellious. Fereshteh is the wife of a judge who is being sent to investigate the appeal of a female political prisoner. Fereshteh believes that this prisoner could very likely have been her or one of her friends. She writes a letter to her husband revealing her own political affiliations with a communist group during the revolution and a relationship she had with an older man. She reveals her story in the hopes that her husband will listen to the prisoner’s whole story and not judge her too harshly. It is dangerous for her to reveal her past, not only could it harm her relationship with her husband, but it could also lead to her arrest if her husband were to reveal her past to the authorities. The film also shows the brave actions of women in the communist party, prior to the revolution. These women risked their lives to voice their opinions and concerns. I think the film is evidence that women around the world are working in their own ways and within their own means to create change. Merely telling this story placed Milani’s life at risk, yet she continues to persevere and attempt to tell stories that are meaningful instead of conformist. I think it is important to support films like The Hidden Half so that filmmakers are encouraged to create films that portray strong women working for change.