director, writer, producer
Rakhshān Banī Iʿtimād
Rakhshān Banī Iʿtimād is an Iranian director, screenwriter and producer who has directed and produced over 20 documentaries and 12 feature films. She studied cinema at the Faculty of Dramatic Arts in Tehran. In the 1970s, she worked as the production secretary for a couple of TV films. She began her career as a documentary filmmaker in the early 1980s and as a filmmaker in 1985 with Khārij az maḥdūdah (Outside of Limit). Her most notable features include Rūsarī-i ābī (The Lady in Blue Scarf), (1994), Bānū-yi urdībihisht (The Lady of the Month of May), (1997), and Zīr-i pūst-i shahr (Under the City’s Skin), (2000), which vary in terms of genre. Banī Iʿtimād’s early experiences of working with Iranian television to make documentaries about social issues led Banī Iʿtimād to make fiction films in the realistic genre and criticize the problems of Iranian society as a social activist.The variety in Banī Iʿtimād works is derived from the early beginnings of her career as a documentary filmmaker in the early 1980s, which give her films socially-grounded themes largely pertaining to social and economic issues framed in dramatic arcs of female protagonists engaging with socially-outcasted and marginalized individuals of society.
Her fiction film, such as Nargis (Narcissus), (1991), follows the larger theme of her works, but is entwined in love triangles, familial difficulties, and pressures to reconcile family, love, and career and is the first film of a trilogy that includes Bānū-yi urdībihisht, (1997) and Zīr-i pūst-i shahr, (2000). It is through this trilogy of films that Banī Iʿtimād explores the intersectionality of class and gender, particularly exploring the struggles of marginalized women in society such as single mothers and those in complex familial dynamics.
Her films have been acclaimed at international festivals and have attracted the attention of a large audience and critics inside and outside Iran. Banī Iʿtimād became the first woman to be awarded Best Director at the 1992 Fajr Film Festival for Nargis. Banī Iʿtimād has also won the Best Screenplay Award at the 71st Venice Film Festival in 2014. She won the New Horizons Section Award at the 1995 Thessaloniki International Film Festival, and Special Award at the Montreal International Film Festival in 1998. She was then nominated for a Golden Leopard and won a Bronze Leopard at the Locarno Film Festival for Zīr-i pūst-i shahr in 2001.She is the wife of the film producer Jahāngīr Kaws̱arī and the mother of the actress Bārān Kaws̱arī.
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