posted by June 6 at 15:18 PMon
Here’s my capsule review:
In the Islamic Republic of Iran, you can be put to death for being a homosexual. But according to a fatwa issued by Ayatollah Khomenei over 20 years ago, the Quíran says nothing about transsexuals, and so sex changes are permissibleóeven gently condoned. Without pressing the case, Iranian-American director Tanaz Eshaghian leaves open the delicate, chilling possibility that some young men may be getting their junk chopped off because their parents, doctors, and society are telling them itís at once okay to become a woman and an abomination to remain a gay man. Itís a riveting study of the way gender and sexuality intersect in a 21st-century theocracy. ANNIE WAGNER
So, take the film still, above. The young trannie in a hijab is dating the young man to the left. They’ve been dating for a long time, probably since before the hijabi started dressing a a woman. The sexuality of the young man is not what you would call “in question.” Not that I want to put anyone’s life in danger, but he seems pretty damn gay. Unsurprisingly, when his partner gets a sex change (in part to please mom, who’s dying for a normal kid, son or daughter, but also so they can finally get married), he loses interest. It is both hard to watch and utterly fascinating. The concepts of gender and sexuality are tangled together a way that would horrify Judith Butler, but which is so ingrained in the culture that I think you’d have a very time convincing any of the individuals involved that God doesn’t necessarily intend for them to be women just because they like cooking and don’t want to marry a girl.
According to the Guardian, Iran carries out more sex-change operations than any country except Thailand. The government funds the operations with grants of thousands of dollars.
It’s a great topic, and an exceptional film.