Iranian filmmaker Negar Azarbeyjani tackles questions in "Facing Mirrors" that are controversial in the United States and downright inflammatory in Azarbeyjani’s homeland.
Rana (Ghazal Shakeri) moonlights as a gypsy cab driver in Tehran as a way to make ends meet and pay off the huge debt that has landed her husband in prison. Her mother-in-law helps care for her young son, and sympathetic co-workers at her day job cover for her when need be, but things are still tough.
Eddie (Sheyesteh Irani) has problems of his own--not financial, because he comes from a wealthy family. Rather, Eddie’s facing a wedding to a cousin that has been foisted on him by a religiously traditional father. Neither Eddie nor his intended spouse are happy about this; the cousin is in love with someone else, and as for Eddie... well, he’s a transman. His family call him Adineh (except for a sympathetic brother), and protest about the social embarrassment Eddie causes by not acting demure and ladylike.
Eddie’s plan is to flee the country and get a sex-change operation, which, ironically, he could have in Iran if not for his father’s objections. When Rana picks Eddie up as a fare to a distant city (where Eddie intends to stay with a friend until his passport arrives in the mail), the two start talking, and start to understand each others’ lives and problems. Thanks to some dramatic twists, Rana’s initial horror at Eddie’s status as a transsexual gives way to concern and friendship. As the two begin to help one another, they wrestle with questions of love and faith, family and tradition.
The film’s various characters have deeply held beliefs and points of view, but rarely are they monolithic; Azarbeyjani and co-writer Fereshteh Taerpoor allow their secondary characters to air their concerns and even rise above themselves. But the film’s focus remains on Rana and Eddie as they navigate the tricky and demanding process of growing past the strictures they’ve been handed, taking ownership of their lives, and growing into themselves.
Pedar :: Homayoun Ershadi
Adineh :: Shayesteh Irani
Brother :: Nima Shahi
Rana :: Qazal Shakeri
Screenwriter, Negar Azarbayjani; Executive Producer, Fereshteh Taerpoor; Original Music, Fardin Khalatbari; Cinematographer, Turaj Mansuri; Film Editor, Sepideh Abdolvahab.
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