A plea for attention to despicable conditions of female servitude in contempo Iran, “Daughters of the Sun” features a Falconetti-ish lead perf, daring role-reversal plotline and deliberate pace that should attract fest and specialty situations yet renders pic too specialized and bleak for all but the most committed distribs.
With freshly-shaved head and boyish garb, young Amangol is dispatched to a far-away weaving job to raise money for her sick mother. The job and deception were arranged by her father to keep her safe and ensure her employment. Locked into a sparsely furnished room by a cruel master, a small group weaves constantly, with subservient yet strong Amangol taking the brunt of the boss’ frequent ire. She is befriended by despondent young female co-worker Belgheis, who, having lost her entire immediate family in an earthquake and failing to see through the deception, comes to view Amangol as her savior — with tragic results. Altinay Ghelich Taghani’s lead perf mixes bravery with despair. Tech credits are admirable, with Homayoun Payvar’s crisp images conveying the bone-numbing cold and soul-freezing repression of these young women who suffer so in order to create such beauty.