Tahmineh Milani

Written by Serena Berger
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Tahmineh Milani is an important Iranian director. As an educated feminist, she brings a talent and perspective to Iranian film from which the people of her country and the world have much to learn. There is also much to enjoy in the beauty of her movies.

The Work of Tahmineh Milani

Tahmineh Milani began working in film at the age of 1979, with an interest in screenwriting. Her first significant work was as the screenplay writer for Mohammad Reza Alami's Love and Death. From there she grew to direct her first film, 1989's Children of Divorce.

Tahmineh Milani has earned international acclaim for her unflinching looks at women's struggles to the 1979 Islamic Revolution. She was jailed in Iran in 2001 for her latest film, The Hidden Half, which the Tehran Revolutionary Court viewed as her supporting counterrevolutionaries. She was luckily released, due to the support of Khatami's reformist government, who approved the film about a woman who worked with leftist rebels the victory of revolution, and had an affair with one particular man who was not her husband.

Milani's work has been called ethically challenging; though by Western standards, a portrayal of a younger woman's love for an older man, for example, is nothing shocking. While Milani's films are works of art in their own right, they also serve an important purpose in the West of illuminating a culture very few Westerners understand. When we realize the political risks taken by Milani to bring her human, honest stories to the screen, we gain greater sympathy and understanding of a culture fraught with internal conflicts.

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