Three tales define the arc of a woman’s life in modern-day Iran. In “Havva,” a young girl spends the last hour of her innocence in the company of her best friend, a boy she’ll be forbidden from seeing when she turns 9 years old. In “Ahoo,” a married woman defies her husband and relatives to join an all-female bike race, even as they pursue her on horseback, threatening to disown her. Finally, an elderly woman goes on a wild shopping spree for everything she never had in life in “Houra.”
Marzieh Meshkini’s debut film is a poignant allegory about the limited freedoms of women in predominantly Muslim Iran. It’s also a Fellini-esque fantasy about the possibility of liberation from oppression, imagined or otherwise. Each short tale packs potent insights about daily life, gender relations, and the major stages of life (youth, maturity, senescence) for Persian women, and Meshkini’s non-professional cast is more than up to the task of making each vignette feel true to life, even when it veers into magical realism.