Sina Ataeian Dena

Iran, Germany 2015, 100 min.


Spoken language: Persian

Subtitles: English

Festival year: 2016

Filmed clandestinely, this daring movie debut from Iranian director Ataeian Dena shows how violence and intimidation influence the life of a woman working in Tehran. Twenty-five-year-old teacher Hanieh teaches girls how to behave in Iranian patriarchal society. Meanwhile, she seems more and more to be personally struggling with the strict customs enforced in the country.


Hanieh lives with her married sister in Tehran. Every morning she gets up early to start her long journey to her job as a primary school teacher in a poor neighbourhood on the other side of town. There she teaches young girls the cultural standards and values of the Iranian community, which leave little room for freedom of movement.

But children are rebellious by nature and refuse to be constrained at times. Hanieh feels trapped in a world of contrasts: between the playful act of pre-school girls and the rigid older supervisors. Tired and exhausted from work and the long commute, the teacher tries to get transferred to a job in the city. But administrative formalities and bureaucracy thwart her efforts. Her perspective on life changes when she arrives at school one day and discovers that two of her young students have disappeared.

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