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Minna and Fariba are neighbours and good friends. They support one another. Both have to live under the pervasive curtailment of women’s rights and the double standards of today’s Iranian society. They make a living walking the streets looking for men. They have a choice between leaving their small children at home alone or bringing them along when they have sex with men.

The film is a sympathetic portrait of the two women, exploring their day-to-day life and the workings of prostitution in a country that bans it and prosecutes adulterers, sometimes with the penalty of capital punishment.

Many of the clients find a way to buy sex and still comply with Muslim law: they marry the women in what is called ‘Sighe’, a temporary marriage sanctioned in Shia Islam. Sighe can last from two hours up to 99 years. Both Minna and Fariba enter into Sighe with clients, and Fariba is in a Sighe marriage with a neighbour, Habib, that lasts six months. Giving his perspective on temporary marriage, Habib says that Sighe is a way to help poor women, it is an act of mercy in the name of Allah.

The film follows the two women for more than a year. It describes their middle-class backgrounds and their submission to treacherous men and drugs. We see how Fariba manages to quit drugs and prostitution, only to find herself temporarily married to a man who will not let her leave the house.

The film is narrated by the director, Nahid Persson, who fled Iran 20 years ago. Her commentary adds her perspective and contextual information to the film’s events. An element of the film is the difficulties faced by a female director shooting a film. Filming prostitution in the street was hard and dangerous, as is evident in the film. The director has to submit to the same restraints as the film’s two women in a ludicrously patriarchal society marked by religious restrictions, oppression of women, and social decline. The story of Minna and Fariba mirrors the greater story of Iranian society.

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10 Comments

  • shady 8 years ago

    What an eye opener.

  • Everybody should see this.

  • M Sonia 8 years ago

    Outstanding work by Nahid

  • Sebastian 8 years ago

    That was heavy. Probably one of the finest and most daring documentaries (all things considered) that I’ve seen. Outstanding indeed.

  • Viola 7 years ago

    Absolutely brilliant and excellent food for thought.

  • annie 7 years ago

    SO Sad!!! Men R so ruthless n hv no mercy..hats off to a mother who evn in distress cares for her child.Very sad story..;(

  • Ralph Lauren 7 years ago

    These documentaries only blind us from whats going on in our own countries. Making us feel like we have a superior governing body, when worse shit is going on right at home.

  • Viola 6 years ago

    This one is brilliant. A must see.

  • I hope you guys don’t take this documentary as the real truth and concept of Islam. Im terribly shocked of what’s happening in Iran considering it’s a so-called Islamic country.

    Sighe system is completely non-existence in Islam, period. It’s true a man can have more than 1 wife (max 4), but he can’t simply have this “marriage contract” which she’s being paid plus for a short period of time…kinda sounds like a “legitimate prostitute” don’t you think?

    Islam is good religion but that doesn’t mean all its followers are all angels isn’t it? These people you guys have watched are the examples of hypocrite muslims, going against of what are being commanded in religion secretly and behind closed doors. So i hope that you all won’t take these people as the general attitude of all muslims in the world, thus forming bad perception on Islam.

    Peace y’all!

    Amazing documentary :)