Is it still June? Not on the Georgian calendar, but maybe the Mayan one? Yes, Ten, my pick for June Blind Spot arrives very late. What can I do, I’m only human. Luckily, this film has been well worth your wait.
Show of hands: how many Iranian films have been produced that shed light on what it means to be a woman in Iran? 1? 2? Maybe 5 at a push? I can’t imagine there would be many more. Nevertheless, I’m glad Ten was one of them.
The film is told from two cameras somewhere on the dashboard of a car. One locked on the female taxi driver and the other on whoever is occupying the passenger seat. Unsurprisingly, she has 10 journeys with different women. The only exception is her son, who joins her on a couple of occasions.
The beginning of every journey is marked with an old film style countdown. The film is tightly structured and highly realistic. If only for the fact that all of these people were happy to be filmed I would have thought the film was a documentary. It’s verisimilitude is a testament to how ‘believable’ the representation of Iranian women is. We learn about the everyday lives they lead, busting some stereotypes in the process.
The women the female taxi driver encounters include her sister, who seems more orthodox in her view of women’s roles in Iranian society. For example, the sister wears a hijab to the taxi driver’s simple veil. She tries her best to hide her shock at her sister buying her husband a birthday cake at a bakery rather than make one herself.
Ten people, ten perspectives
Among the women is a prostitute. An elderly religious woman who prays three times a day, and a recently married woman who does something liberating towards the end of the film that I won’t spoil now. But the thread that holds the conversation together is the taxi driver’s relationship with her son. She went through a messy divorce (as I doubt there’s another kind for women who want to divorce their husband in Iran) and her son lives with her ex-husband and treats her poorly. She comes off as imperfect as any of us when she takes the abuse and her guilt keeps her quiet and allows him to continue.
The characterisation of the docufiction was just flawless, and I’ve never seen a film like this before, which is a sentence I love being able to say. The best bit, though? It just made me want to meet more women. More women from Iran, from Lebanon, from China, from Mongolia, from everywhere! I want to find out about who they really are rather than the image I’ve built in my head from the various sources.
This is why I watch these films, and Ten just isn’t enough.
Have you ever watched Ten before? Or another Iranian films about women?