March 29, 2023


All About Women

The Persian Model Tells a Queer Story Via Household Secrets and techniques

4 min read

This evaluate of The Persian Model incorporates delicate spoilers.

Autostraddle is again at Sundance. Drew Burnett Gregory and Shelli Nicole are coming to you day by day for the subsequent week with LGBTQ+ film critiques from some of the prestigious movie festivals on the planet. Comply with Drew and Shelli on Twitter for extra!

Hey, bear in mind yesterday once I was like “Our mothers are actual individuals too, and perhaps they’ve shit happening that we don’t learn about that might be a key to understanding our relationship with them!”? WELL GUESS WHAT?! I noticed Maryam Kesharvarz’s The Persian Model and it screamed at me that EYE WAZ CORRECT!

This movie marks the Iranian-American director’s queer return to Sundance! She was there in 2011 with Circumstance, one other queer movie that low-key has some character similarities to her newest movie.

The Persian Model is a time bounce movie, we hop forwards and backwards from the 50s to the early 2000s with Leila (Layla Mohammadi, My Love) a QUEER WRITER (sure that deserved all caps) and solely daughter of Ali (Bijan Daneshmand, Home of The Dragon) and Shirin (Niousha Noor, Kaleidoscope). One 12 months at Thanksgiving — additionally the anniversary of her grandfather’s dying — her mom admits that she will not be vibin’ with the queer shit, calls Leila egocentric, and tells her (and her girlfriend that she purchased along with her) to go away. After that, their relationship hits a fast and sharp decline; it already was strained, however now it’s nearing non-existent.

Still from the movie "The Persian Version"

So that you is perhaps studying this and be like “Ugh, one other film the place a queer particular person will get kicked out the household for being queer” and basically you might be right. However what makes this one completely different to me, is that the queer character isn’t taking to coronary heart that one thing is improper with them. Oftentimes when this occurs to characters in movie, they go up to now inward. They put all of it on themselves to determine “What’s improper with me?” as a substitute of asking others “What’s improper with you?”

Leila, to me, hadn’t finished something however be herself in a household that was asking her to not be since she was youthful, and never simply by way of sexuality. She performed basketball, wore mismatched outfits that she beloved, and wished to write down, whereas her household — specifically her mom — wished her to not be “a lot.” She didn’t discourage her however she didn’t significantly encourage her both. So in her maturity, when her father’s well being is in decline, she inserts herself again into the lifetime of her household and in doing so learns household secrets and techniques from her mamajoon (Bella Warda, Radio Goals).

These secrets and techniques enable her to see and perceive her mom extra — however doesn’t excuse her actions. I beloved that, as a result of regardless that somebody has had ache of their previous, it doesn’t give them a free cross to mistreat you sooner or later, even when they’re household. It will possibly enable you to perceive the place their actions are coming from and permits them to increase grace, and that’s all you’ll be able to ask for.

Kesharvarz wished to inform an immigrant story, and the film is based on her own life. It’s about an Iranian-American household, and it’s certainly one of three movies (together with Shayda and Joonam) at Sundance this 12 months by an Iranian girl. All three enable the tales of Iranian girls to be advised and for his or her voices to be heard, whereas numerous others are combating to not be silenced and being jailed, overwhelmed, and murdered whereas doing so.

I usually speak about how movie may be enjoyable and foolish, however my favourite half about it’s connection. Kesharvarz makes use of household secrets and techniques, popular culture, and lived experiences to attach us to a full and candy story of moms, daughters, and womanhood. There are twists and surprises, however what I took away most is the significance of understanding. We could by no means know each element of somebody’s previous, however as you study it a little bit of understanding can go a great distance.

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