Review: ‘Unwanted Woman’

Outspoken feminist filmmaker Tahmineh Milani has been steadily moving away from arthouse-type films to genre vehicles; "Unwanted Woman" stands somewhere between the two. Though on surface a purely commercial drama of jealousy and betrayal, it isn't hard to see the blows Milani is wielding in defense of women and their trampled rights. Still, scripting and lensing are pretty basic, and it's hard to imagine the kind of fest interest shown for her earlier efforts like "Two Women" and "The Hidden Half."

Outspoken feminist filmmaker Tahmineh Milani has been steadily moving away from arthouse-type films to genre vehicles; “Unwanted Woman” stands somewhere between the two. Though on surface a purely commercial drama of jealousy and betrayal, it isn’t hard to see the blows Milani is wielding in defense of women and their trampled rights. Still, scripting and lensing are pretty basic, and it’s hard to imagine the kind of fest interest shown for her earlier efforts like “Two Women” and “The Hidden Half.”

Sima, a well-heeled teacher with a young daughter, is unhappily married to Ahmad, a strutting rooster and Sean Penn lookalike. He wants to take his floozy young mistress Saba on a long car trip, and outrageously demands Sima’s cooperation. Instead, she boldly insists on coming along. When she crosses paths with a young man who has just murdered his wife in a fit of jealousy, she totally identifies with him and helps him hide from police. Then she bonds with the mistress, who’s been abused by men all her life, leaving Ahmad out in the cold where he belongs. Performances, like the tech work, bespeak TV.

Unwanted Woman

Iran

Production

Produced by Mohammad Nikbin. (International sales: Farabi Cinema Foundation, Teheran.) Directed, written by Tahmineh Milani.

Crew

Camera (color), Faraj Heydari; editor, Shahrzad Pooya; music, Amir Moeini; production designer, Keyvan Moghadam. Reviewed at Fajr Film Festival (competing), Feb. 8, 2005. Original title: Zane Ziyadi. Running time: 103 MIN.

With

Meryla Zareei, Amin Hayaei, Parsa Pirouzfar, Elsa Firouzazar, Keykavous Yakideh.
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