Be Like Others

A hospital in the middle of Tehran. The waiting room is full of mostly young people, drawn there by their desperation. They can’t live out their love and desire and so they want to alter their gender. In the Islamic Republic of Iran homosexuality is punishable by death, while the Ayatollah Khomeini pronounced transsexuality legal twenty years ago. Around 450 sex changes are performed each year in Iran. The film follows a group of people shortly before the difficult intervention. A tomboyish woman talks about her preference for other women, a young man goes to a women’s hairdresser with his boyfriend. If he wears a veil, they are allowed to walk hand in hand through the streets. Even the parents get to speak. Everyone exhibits a deep insecurity. They suffer under a rigid system of morals that considers homosexuals sick and perverse. In the end they don’t even know what is happening to them because they cannot get their feelings in order. Tanaz Eshaghian’s documentary gives them time to look for words and to formulate their ideas. And we get the feeling that while speaking in front of the attentive camera, they come a little closer to understanding themselves.
Anke Leweke
by Tanaz Eshaghian USA / Canada / Iran 2008 74’

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