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Known for her insightful and intimate examinations of Japanese culture in Dream Girls and Shinjuku Boys, British documentary-maker Kim Longinotto teamed with Iranian co-director Ziba Mir-Hosseini to create this fascinating and surprising look at Iran's divorce laws. Studiously avoiding the stereotypes of Islamic fanaticism often associated with modern Iran, the film centers on three cases as they come across the tiny office desk of Judge Deldar, who generously allowed the directors to film every aspect of the cases. The first centers on Jamileh, who tells the judge that her husband mistreats her. Sixteen-year-old Ziba's husband is a good man, but she wants to be free to resume her studies, something she cannot do if she is married. Maryam wants a new husband because she claims her current husband cannot provide her with a child. After the introduction of the protagonists, Longinotto and Mir-Hosseini spend several weeks following the complainants in and outside of court as they go to great lengths to convince the patient judge to free them. Despite the fact that Islamic law contains strict, daunting guidelines for marital break-ups, Judge Deldar proves himself to be fair and even liberal in regards to making decisions for the unhappy couples. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi
The film leaves you torn between fascination with the lives of these women, admiration at the informality of the proceedings and a fear that lasting damage could be done to young children by prejudicial laws in favour of fathers.