Original Title: Zendan-e Zenan
Director: Manijeh Hekmat
The films explores the daily life – over a period of twenty years – of several women imprisoned for acts qualified as misdemeanours by successive political regimes in Iran.
Following a riot in a women’s prison in Tehran, Tahereh, a young woman, is sent by the authorities to suppress the revolt, which she manages to do by using harsh measures. At the same time, she comes across a young girl, Mitra, who has been given a life sentence for killing her stepfather.
The two women are thrown together through contempt, harshness and even harmony. The film, based on actual facts, highlights various crimes such as addiction, prostitution and theft. As time goes by, Tahereh’s dogmatic views and her attitude towards the prisoners change and she becomes increasingly involved in releasing Mitra, her archenemy.
An old and tired Mitra is eventually released in the hope that she will stop the downfall of a young girl to whom she had become attached in prison. She leaves behind an old and bitter Tahereh.
Roya Nonahali, Roya Taymourian, Pegah Ahangar, Golab Adineh, Maryam Boobaniani
Production: Bamdad Film & Omid Film / 35mm / colour / 106 mins
Born in 1962, Manijeh Hekmat is a well-known filmmaker in Iranian cinema. She began as a scriptwriter, then worked as an assistant director in about 11 films.
Of the five films she has produced, The Girl in Sneakers and Bunch of Grass won several awards in national and international festivals. Bunch of Grass is a German production set in Iranian Kurdistan. Women’s Prison is her debut feature film and is based on her fieldwork among Iranian women prisoners.