Tuškanac Cinema / Tuesday, 16 May / 7 pm

Seven Winters in Tehran / Sieben Winter in Teheran

Germany, France, 2023, 97'
Director: Steffi Niederzoll · Screenplay: Steffi Niederzoll· Photography: Julia Daschner · Editing: Nicole Kortlüke · Production: Knut Losen, Melanie Andernach - Made in Germany Filmproduktion · Coproduction: Laurent Lavolé, Gilles Sacuto, Miléna Poylo - TS Productions, Gloria Films, WDR

In the summer of 2007 and older man approached an architecture student Reyhaneh Jabbari, who had a side job as an interior designer, and asked her to design his office. During the site inspection, he tried to rape her. She stabbed him in self-defence, for which she was arrested for murder and sentenced to death. She spent seven years in a Tehran prison, during which time her family hired lawyers and worked to bring the case to the public. But despite the efforts of Iranian and international human rights activists, the Iranian judiciary coldly continued to cite the right of blood revenge as an irreversible legal basis for death sentence. This meant that, until Reyhaneh withdrew her accusation against the deceased perpetrator, his family (in this case, the tragic decision fell on his youngest son, perpetuating the vicious circle of violence) had the right to demand her death. Like a modern Antigone, in the courtroom Reyhaneh resolutely insisted on truthfulness of her testimony, and was executed at only 26 years old. At the very end, she mustered the strength to ask her family to forgive her killers – forgive, but not forget; forgive, but not allow this ever to happen again. With the help of minutely detailed models of the prison bedrooms and courtroom, the original audio and visual materials smuggled from Iran, and the actress Zar Amir Ebrahim (Holy Spider), who lent her voice to Reyhaneh, director Steffi Niederzoll makes visible the injustice intrinsic to the system itself and its treatment of women, paying tributes to the fallen warrior for women’s rights. A bitter admonition of the Sharia law reminds us why, since the first days of the anti-regime protests in Iran, „Woman, life, freedom!“ has become the dominant slogan of the entire movement. (DP)

Awards and festivals: 

Berlinale (2023) – world premiere, Compass-Perspektive Award, Peace Film Award; CPH:DOX (2023) – F:ACT Award; The Hague Movies That Matter Festival (2023)

Steffi Niederzoll was born in Nuremberg, Germany, in 1981. She studied audio-visual media at the Academy of Media Arts Cologne and at the Escuela Internacional de Cine y Televisión in Cuba. Her short films have screened successfully at international festivals: her medium-length film Lea was selected for the 2008 Perspektive Deutsched Kino. She is an alumna of several masterclasses and won a scholarship to the Tarabya Cultural Academy in Turkey. Alongside her film work, she is also involved in interdisciplinary artistic work. Seven Winters in Tehran is her first feature-length documentary.