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20 Fingers: Personal or political?

Sussan Siavoshi


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 institutions.


Iran; Islamic Republic; female director; gender relations; war films; transitional societies; reformist era

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