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The Day I Became a Woman, Marzieh Makhmalbaf (2000)

Simple but mildly affecting film consisting of three stories of three women in southern Iran coping with the constraints of a misogynist culture. What’s odd is the differences in tone between the segments. The first is a stick-simple realist tale of a girl who is no longer allowed to play with her male friend because she’s passed her ninth birthday. The second is as heavy-handed in its message but quite odd in its vehicle: a woman participating in a bicycle race is commanded to withdraw by her husband, who is on horseback. She refuses and he divorces her, without either of them dismounting. The last segment is a symbolic fantasy wherein an old woman goes about buying tons of consumer goods with money that she’s gotten from an unknown source. All the goods are put on rafts and go floating out to sea. I suppose this last bit is the reason the film’s compared to Fellini on some web sites I saw. But aside from some coincidences of imagery, this film isn’t anything like Fellini.

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