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The Hidden Half (2001)
"Nimeh-ye penhan" (original title)

 |  Drama  |  8 March 2002 (Canada)
7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 588 users   Metascore: 49/100
Reviews: 3 user | 2 critic | 4 from Metacritic.com

An official is sent from his home in Tehran to hear the final appeal of a woman sentenced to death, a political prisoner. The official's wife of nearly 20 years, Fereshteh Samimi, writes ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview:
Niki Karimi ...
Fereshteh
Mohammad Nikbin ...
Roozbeh Javid
Atila Pesiani ...
Husband
Soghra Obeisi
Akbar Moazezi ...
Mr. Rastegar
Afarin Obeisi
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Storyline

An official is sent from his home in Tehran to hear the final appeal of a woman sentenced to death, a political prisoner. The official's wife of nearly 20 years, Fereshteh Samimi, writes him a letter to read when he reaches the hotel - the story of her student days during the revolution of 1978. We see the story in flashbacks as he reads: she leaves her province on scholarship, joins a Communist youth group, avoids arrest, and comes under the sway of a suave older man, Roozbeh Javid, a literary-magazine editor. As she tells her husband about the hidden half of her life, Fereshteh asks that he listen to the woman facing execution, a woman and therefore one of Iran's hidden half. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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Drama

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8 March 2002 (Canada)  »

Also Known As:

Die verborgene Hälfte  »

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1.85 : 1
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User Reviews

 
Brave and personal drama - I recommend it...
4 October 2003 | by (Chapel Hill, NC, USA) – See all my reviews

THE HIDDEN HALF isn't 100% flawless, so I'll get my nitpicky gripes out of the way early. The subtitles are in white, and much of the film is very brightly lit, so there are spots - especially early on - where following the subtitles is difficult.

I would also note that the story is a bit melodramatic (Douglas Sirk would have loved this film), and it takes a little time for the story to get going; but if ever there was a film in which these faults were forgivable, this would be it, as this film - depicting Iranian society and politics through the eyes of an independent and intellectually astute young woman - also takes on a vast number of incendiary political topics in a most daring fashion.

Valuable as a relatively rare view of revolutionary Iran as seen through the eyes of a woman, THE HIDDEN HALF offers a meticulously critical glimpse of the theocratic hysteria that gripped the country (and also of the brutal reign of the deposed Shah), while also lampooning sexism in other, more 'intellectual' spheres as well. In this, the film essentially offers a rigorous, non-Western feminism, equating the freedom of women with freedom for all. The melodrama keeps this from getting too didactic, offering a young idealistic woman, with communist ideals, but little life experience to base such principles upon; swept into romance with a rather decadent (I half-expected to see this well-coiffed smoothie French-inhaling cigarette smoke, whilst quoting Verlaine...) and much older intellectual man. This romance derails in convoluted fashion, quite symbolically set against the backdrop of an imploding society...

It should be noted that the director was briefly jailed due to the provocative nature of the film; it is a personal and vital statement of courage - as three-hanky melodramas go, it offers a great deal more real-life resonance than FAR FROM HEAVEN, for instance. Extra points for the stunner of an ending - I eagerly anticipate seeing what Tahmineh Milani will do next.


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