Iranian filmmaker Nahid Hassanzadeh, 40, says artistes cannot be banned. And even if an artiste is banned, he or she will find a way to do whatever he/she likes.
Nahid takes the example of renowned Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi, who has a 20-year filmmaking ban by the Iranian government.
In 2015 Panahi directed Taxi, the third film he has made despite the ban. The film was not only screened at the 65th Berlin International Film Festival. It also won the highest honour in Berlin by bagging the Golden Bear award.
A fan of Panahi’s work, Nahid, says though the filmmaker is not allowed to move out of Iran, he keeps meeting other filmmakers and also goes to various film festivals in the country. “Nobody can ban artistes. I met him at a film theatre. His films always inspire me,” says Nahid, who is in town to attend the Kolkata International Film Festival. Nahid’s film, Another Time, has been selected under the International Competition: Women Directors’ Films section at KIFF.
Interestingly, before studying cinema at the Iranian Young Cinema Society, Nahid studied midwifery from Tehran University. She started making short films and documentaries as she continued her profession as a midwife.
In Another Time, she shows the struggle of a woman, Somayeh, who gives birth out of wedlock. Nahid admits most of her short films and documentaries deal with women issues. And she has her reasons. She also informs that the idea to make a film like Another Time came from her profession as a midwife.
“I am a midwife and I have been working with women and girls for a long time. So, it’s easier for me to understand the problems and struggle of women in Iran. That’s how I got the idea to make Another Time,” she says in broken English.
It’s not unknown that women in Iran have a restricted life. Be it the way they dress in public or the kind of jobs they take up — women in Iran face a lot of problems in their daily lives. Nahid informs that it’s very difficult for a young, independent woman to shoot films in Iran. “Women are not allowed to speak their mind in Iran,” says Nahid.