Facing Mirrors + short film and Q&A

We are pleased to be hosting NAZRA: Queer Arab Lives on Film in the Towner Cinema, in association with Eyes Wide Open Cinema, a Brighton-based LGBT+film strand. Until December we will have a monthly exploration of queer Arab identities and experiences. Each feature-length film will be accompanied by a short film and Q&A discussion with an esteemed expert.

Still from Facing Mirrors, Negar Azarbayjani, 2011

Facing Mirrors

Director: Negar Azarbayjani | Iran | 2011 | 98 minutes

In Farsi (Persian) with English subtitles.

Set in contemporary Iran, Facing Mirrors tells the story of an unlikely and daring friendship that develops between a cisgender female cab driver and her passenger, a transgender man desperately awaiting a passport to leave the country to escape a forced marriage.

While the cab driver’s initial instinct is to help, she is caught off guard upon discovering that her passenger is trans. What emerges is a connection between the two that challenges both social norms and religious beliefs, reflecting the paradoxes of modern-day Iran in which gender reassignment surgery is legal and prevalent, but social acceptance is not widespread.

+ Legacy of the Imam (short film)

Still from Legacy of the Imam , Kouross Esmaeli, 2006

Directed by Kouross Esmaeli | Iran and USA | 2006 | 14 minutes

Maryam Khatoonpour Molkara made strides for the Iranian trans community in 2004 when she successfully obtained a fatwa from Ayatollah Khomeini to allow legal gender reassignment surgery in the country. Iranian-American filmmaker Kouross Esmaeli is invited to Molkara’s Iran Transsexual Support Society to hear the voices of Iranian trans people.

+ Skype Q&A with Dr Saman Arastoo

Saman is an Iranian director, actor, playwright, screenwriter, and theatre teacher. Saman transitioned to male in 2008 and since then, he has regularly run the workshop “Self Cognition” in collaboration with trans participants.

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