20 Fingers

Personal or political?

  • Sussan Siavoshi
Keywords: Iran, Islamic Republic, female director, gender relations, war films, reformist era, transitional societies


For the first two decades of the post-revolutionary period, Iranian filmmakers predominantly portrayed women as either selfless/heroic characters, willing to
sacrifice themselves for the greater good of a community, or sinister and selfish creatures who not only lacked any redeeming value, but were a danger to the
well-being of the community. Mania Akbari’s film, 20 Fingers, made during a transitional period of post-revolutionary Iran, was a sharp departure from this
norm. Neither heroic nor sinister, the female protagonist of twenty fingers is a woman whose words and acts are driven by individualistic urges. Can she thus
speak to the concern of the community of women? The claim of this article is that despite the apolitical and at times seemingly frivolous nature of the female
character of the film, she, through her acts and words, speaks to the concerns of many women who have long been under the yoke of patriarchal norms and