Friday, March 02, 2007


Ten is a powerful movie by Iranian director, Abbas Kiarostami. I had heard a lot about Iranian cinema and how it is one of the most unique among any other mainly because Iran is such a paradoxical society. Most Iranians that I have met here are as modern in thoughts as anyone from western society (more so than average Indians) but what the media projects is a society run by crazy mullahs. This makes them not only a fascinating culture but gives chance to their filmmakers to show both sides of their society.

Ten is a hard-hitting documentary style movie shot in the car of the protagonist, Mania Akbari. The car has a moving camera in the dashboard and there are 10 episodes (approx. 10 mins each) with different people and different stories. One of the most interesting character is Mania's own son of 10-12 years.

Mother & Son - First story is about Mania and her relationship with his 10-12 year old son, Amin. We learn that Mania is a divorcee and her son lives with her ex-husband as he doesn't like Mania's new husband. Amin is a very interesting character in itself because he has grown very fast because of his parent's divorce and has a mind of his own. He doesn't like the ways of his mother and the fact that she re-married while his father is still single. He get angry with her very often and even calls her idiot and raises his voice occasionally. We don't see Mania in this story, just hear her voice while she is driving.

Sisters - Next story is very typical, when the sister of Mania goes with her to buy a cake for Mania's new husband and they discuss normal issues like Amin, her new relationship and all. They have a good relationship as sisters and shares all their problems.

Go Pray - Mania has lost her way and so she asks an old lady if she could guide her. The old lady wants to goto a Mosque and so she comes along. Old lady is very nice and tell Mania to pray to get rid of her all her worries. Old lady comes to this mosque 5 times a day to pray and even though she has lost her family, her faith in God is still very strong. She asks Mania to come to the mosque but Mania politely refuses.

Give & Take - Mania gives a ride to prostitute at night and because it was night time prostitute confuses Mania to be a man and sits untill she realizes that Mania is infact a woman. The prostitute is at first reluctant to open up but eventually does. Mania asks her why she does it and she replies, "I enjoy it". Mania seems more curious about her and at one point indirectly suggests if she would ever consider lesbian proposal, to which the prostitute refuses. Prostitute then tells her that she was in a relationship but he cheated on her and since then she lost all faith in men. Prostitute then tells Mania that all relationships are "Give & Take". If Mania's husband gave her a necklace, he expects something from her too. She then says the most controversial line of the movie, "The only difference between a prostitute and wife is that wife is a wholesaler while prostitute is a retailer". The story ends and we see the prostitute getting off the car and going to the side-street. She negotiates with one client and eventually goes with another.

One thing that stuck me was that when we see the prostitute from behind, she is wearing hijab like a typical Iranian women and dressed from head to toe.

Full of contradictions - We meet a friend of Mania, whom she met after going to the same mosque, the one that old lady had suggested. Mania tells her that she is not religious but she hasn't found the piece of mind and so she has started coming to this mosque. Her friend tells her that she comes regularly even though she is also not very religious. She tells Mania that she is engaged but the guy seems "full of contradictions"

Exchange - In this story Amin's father drops him and at first tells Mania to bring him by tonight but later tells her that she can keep him for the night if she wants. This time Mania asks her son about him and he tells her that he watches cartoons as his father has got the new dish, although his father has locked some channels as they show sexy stuff. She asks him if his father watches those sexy channels at night and he says "yes" and smile comes across Mania's face when she comes to know this about her ex-husband.

He's gone - Mania gives a ride to her cousin who keeps crying because her boyfriend just broke up with her. Mania tells her that she is weak and clingy like most women and so guys take advantage of her. They go for dinner later.

Amin - In this part, her son Amin accuses her of being selfish and that she only love her job and not him or her family. She asks him if his father is seeing someone and he blushes. She tells him that his father needs a homely woman and not like her who can't cook food for him. He tells her that whoever she would be, she would be better than Mania. The son and mother eventally laugh about it.

Laughing & Crying - This is the most powerful part of the story. The friend from the "Full of contradictions" returns back and tells Mania that her fiance broke up with her and she now misses him. Mania asks her why is her hijab so tight and when she loosen it we see that she has shaved her head. She asks Mania if she looks hideous and Mania says that she still look beautiful and her friend starts crying and laughing at the same time. We come to now that she shaved her head to give a reason for her break-up.

End Credits - End Credits roll with Amin asking his mother to take him to his Grandma for the night.

The movie gives a glimpse into various faces of Iranian women and their society. A society full of contradictions with itself. The movie has real people, real emotions and real reality. The movie shows different aspects of Iranian women (or for that matter any women), women as mother, divorcee, sister, grandmother, prostitute, friend, fiancee, girlfriend. It was one of the most thought provoking movies I watched this year. The movie was an official selection at Cannes Film Festival.

Victoria to Victoria...a new picture up @ kaarindah...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ricky...I don't want to go back to Bangalore..I am in love with Chennai...kya karu yaar?? chal abhi toh main tera post padh leti hu. :)

8:26 PM  
Blogger The Bhandari's said...

I was here, on scrolling seems to be interesting post but will read sometime later as very much occupied with work today :)

9:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey...I need to watch this movie..I have never seen an Iranian movie...Let me try getting this from the Internet.

Thanks soo much for sharing this with us..& giving a brief about the 10 epi's....

I remember seeing 2 spl programs on on BBC & the other on Travel & Living...n their major projection was the younger generation & women...western influences in their life & Bollywood movies & music too.

Btw, these Iranian women are sooo beautiful na?? I know you will def agree on this one. :p

10:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

woww..sounds so beautiful...u so lucky, wish i too had the time, the access to such movies.. :) gr8 review..

11:55 PM  
Blogger Riddhi said...

now i really need to watch this movie!! informative review, ricky!!

5:31 PM  
Blogger Fuzzylogic said...

I hadn't heard of this movie but now after reading this I am all the more keen to watch this!I really like the whole perspective you gave to the movie.Will surely check it out!I agree with the stereotyping of Iran,I have a lot of Iranian friends and they paint such a different picture.

8:01 PM  
Blogger faith said...

mm Ten... first thing came in my mind was.. arey top ten of something or what... then aah! ye to movie hai :P

pad liya review.. movie bhi dekhni padegi kya :P


1:48 AM  
Blogger The Bhandari's said...

Would like to copy paste fuzzylogic comment here :P
He/She said exactly what I wanted to say, hmmm looking for the way to access this movie now

11:53 PM  
Blogger Colors said...

Sounds very interesting! Lemme see if I can get hold of the movie. Yeah I also dont think that I have seen any Iranian movies, except maybe one or two documentaries on them.

8:54 AM  
Blogger Ricky said...

mehak - I have given you suggestions on your post :P

Yea, its a different movie to watch. I am not sure if you will get this as easily though. 75% of their population is between 15-30, so yea very young.

Oh, Iranian girls are gorgeous :D

payal - Thanks!!

7:16 PM  
Blogger Ricky said...

riddhi - Thanks Riddhi!! It should be in your public library.

fuzzylogic - Yea sure do. You are right, its certainly a country with lots of paradoxes.

faith - LOL. Saare story suna de, ab kya dekhne movie :P

the bhandari's - Thanks!!

colors - Thanks. Yea, I always used to hear about their movies, this was the first one.

7:18 PM  

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