Out of Frame

Directed, Written and Produced by:
Amina Maher


Short Film (Completed)   |   Genre: Social Drama   |   Runtime: 18 Min   |   Original Language: Farsi   |  Subtitle: English, German

Sound: 5.1 Surround Mix  |   Shooting Format: 4K   |   Frame Rate: 25   |   Color, 4K, 16:9   |  Malaysia-UK-Iran 

Logline:

Wanting to escape from the confinement of a shared apartment with her controlling mother, Narges is soon confronted with the dangers that women face in patriarchal societies. A sensitive, brave account about womanhood in modern-day Iran.

Synopsis:

Isolated in their city apartment in Tehran, depressed Narges and her controlling mother pierce through the layers to the core of their conflict: while Narges longs for modern, liberal womanhood, her mother maintains her socially imposed conservative role. Still, both women have a secret. And so the patriarchal society, which continues to produce male perpetrators and female victims, through taboos and shame, soon manoeuvres Narges into a dangerous position.

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Director’s notes:

 

My filmmaking ranges in type, genre and theme from documentary and fiction to hybrid, queer, radical and activist. My works deal with the themes of gender-identity and social taboos in relation to patriarchy and the culture of harassment and rape.

 

In my last short film, Letter to My Mother I shared one of my deepest secret – that of my childhood sexual abuse that began at the exact time I was appearing in the movie Ten by Abbas Kiarostami. I had kept silent about this all my life. Finally, I felt uniquely comfortable confiding in the society about my own experiences, but the three-way relationship between sexual culture, patriarchal patterns and our hidden life is of course extremely complex. 

 

In Out of Frame, I attempt to represent the hidden parts of ordinary life, family politics, and womanhood in modern-day Iran with all its political and social simplicity and complexity and I attempt to push boundaries and break down taboos both social and cultural and to create art and culture out of dark social experiences, injustices, and political repression. In many ways the echoes of the traumas caused by patriarchal society ring trough my entire being and continues to do so.

 

Out of Frame is a fictional short film which aims to address the roots of the culture of lies and silences and it shares the most private moments of family life, and it aims to dare to critically and radically look at patriarchal society. Despite my last short film Letter to My Mother where I change from a victim to a survivor, here I gave myself a small role as a rapist. 

 

Even though the film was scripted, and cast were trained, I chose a documentary style for the believability of the characters, situations, and events, trying to stay a curious hidden observant but present to document even the secrets and to understand and then reveal the taboos. The camera finds itself repressed, like inside a jail as it always stays inside the apartments and it feels breathless as how Narges becomes breathless while struggling for her freedom. 

Now, as a trans woman filmmaker I want to be more honest and bear greater witness to my self and the society, and I want to do so in a more political and social context of human rights, women rights and the experiences of harassments and sexual violence, as well as in relation to issues of patriarchy, social taboos and male dominance behavior. I wish for more honesty with our selves and the society around us. 

 

The True Story:

The true story of this project is that this film was my final project for my Bachelor study in Filmmaking at Limkokwing University of Creative Technology in Malaysia.

 

In 2015, some months before the shooting, I got ambitious with this story to make a feature length film with the duration of 77 Minutes. Of course It became an absolute failure. After receiving rejections, the film got one screening at Chichester Film Festival in UK and we stopped the submissions. This failure gave me depression for months, however not only it became my graduation film but also such a controversial film became the main reason or one of the main reasons why the asylum was granted to me as the director of this film and was also granted to my ex-partner Hoda Taheri as the main actor of the film. When I moved to Germany, I reviewed the material again and told myself that it is definitely a horrible feature film but perhaps it might turn to a good short film which could socially and culturally mean something. 

 

After all those efforts and failures, finally now in 2021 that I study my Master in Regie (Film Directing) at Babelsberg Film University Konrad Wolf, the film is completed. The names of the cast and crew still have not been mentioned to protect their identities due to censorship and limitations in Iran. Now after six years, we have asked the crew again about mentioning their names, however they asked us to not still mention their names as they live in Iran.

 

-Written by Amina Maher