Political Film Society - Born Under Libra

PFS Film Review
Born Under Libra


Born Under Libra, directed by Ahmad Reza Darvish, is the latest of several films from Iran that focus on the absurdity of Khomeni-era restrictions in general and the plight of women in particular. Mahtab Peyman (played by Mitra Hajjar) attends a distinguished private university in Tehran where her authoritarian father is a prominent administrator. When he learns that she has a boyfriend, Danial Moshtaq (played by Mohammad Reza Foroutan), her father is so angry that he pushes through a regulation that men and women should attend different classes on the same campus. Students, in turn, protest the sudden sex segregation, which they learn is due to an unsubstantiated rumor that at least one male student has been fraternizing with one female student. Soon, the students organize a protest, with Mahtab eloquent in defying the authorities. However, Danial admits to the indiscretion and meets her father, who in turn slaps his face and orders his expulsion. After the student protest, Mahtab has a flat tire, so Danial assists. While he is changing tires for her, his briefcase is stolen by two boys on a motorbike, so he chases the boys in Mahtab’s car, and ultimately the two boys are seriously wounded. Police bring the two boys, Danial, and Mahtab to the police station, but soon her father arrives to bail out Danial and Mahtab, after which he slaps her face. At this point Danial and Mahtab decide to escape together to the south. At one point in their journey torrential rain causes a flash flood, and they are carried out to sea, landing at a deserted but fortified island containing many mines. In due course Danial dies from an exploding mine, and Mahtab finds her way back to Tehran after telling him that her Zodiac sign is Libra (the sign of someone who seeks social justice). Of course, the island of mines symbolizes the country, where a minefield of social regulations is destroying Iranians psychologically. As a film that raises issues about government control of society, the Political Film Society has nominated Born Under Libra for an award as best film on human rights and best film exposé for the year 2001. MH

I want to comment on this film