Filmmaker and women’s rights activist talks on camera the day before her prison sentence.
Calls are growing in the international film community for the release of jailed filmmaker and women’s rights activist Mahnaz Mohammadi, who began a five-year sentence on June 7 in Iran’s notorious Evin jail, on charges linked to her documentary work.
In a moving, filmed interview the day before she entered prison, Mohammadi talked about her preparations and emotions ahead of her imminent imprisonment.
“These days I see everything as the end. Anywhere I go I think that this is the last time that I will see it again,” she said.
“I try not to retreat into my memories. Once I am there, I won’t want to think about the past. I want to live with myself in the present time. I don’t want to spend my time harking back to the past and the suffering,” she continued “Over the years I have tried to have the least possible ties because I knew these hard days were waiting for me. When you have less ties you can focus on yourself with more serenity.”
Showing the small holdall of clothes and books she hoped to take to prison, Mohammadi revealed she had bought a copy of Anger Management for Dummies as well as books on philosophy, democracy and a book by a friend entitled Sexuality and Morality.
“Since Ahmadinejad I’ve got a lot of anger in me,” she said referring to former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a religious hardliner. “I often get angry and I want to learn how to manage this anger.”
The filmmaker, whose work includes the short documentary Woman without Shadows about the plight of homeless women in a state run shelter and Travelogue in which she asked passengers on a train between Iran and Turkey why they were leaving their country, said she remained true to her convictions regarding women’s rights.
“My ideas have not changed. In no way. I continue to defend the rights of my friends, of women, of all us. I remain convinced that women in Iranian society are second-class citizens, in the family or outside. You have no freedom, your hands are tied. To make your film, to think, you must hide your thoughts so they can’t discover it. Even your expressions of joy must be under their control.”
To sign the petition for the release of Iranian filmmaker Mahnaz Mohammadi send an email with your first name and family name to firstname.lastname@example.org
The petition is managed by the French Film Directors’ Guild (La Societe des Realisateurs) www.la-sfr.fr