Cinema Q: Be Like Others
Canada, 2008, 74 Minute Running Time
Additional Countries: Iran, Great Britain, USA
Language: Farsi English Sub-Titles
In Be Like Others, Iranian-born director Tanaz Eshagian departs from autobiography (I Call Myself Persian, Love Iranian-American Style) to enter the lives of patients in a Tehran sex change clinic. In Iran, homosexuality is punishable by death, yet transsexuality is legal. The double edge of the law cuts through the hearts as well as the bodies of young males who live on the fringes of Iranian society.
Eshagian’s subjects, confused and vulnerable, leave their homes in search of their rightful places in the hands of Dr. Bahram Mir Jalali, a surgeon who has performed hundreds of sex change operations. They must obtain a psychiatrist’s referral as well as official government permission before he can operate. Vida—a twenty-four-year-old woman who has undergone the risky procedure and claims to be reborn—counsels them. Often their decision to go through with the surgery is colored by the threat of ostracism—if not worse (one young man is pushed to the brink by his own father’s attempt to poison his tea). But the results are not always as expected. Instead of the decent life they’re counting on, many transsexuals continue to be shunned. Some discover that their lovers no longer want them; others engage in prostitution, backed by Islamic law. This painfully provocative film follows them along a treacherous path as they come to terms with their identities.
Producer: Tanaz Eshaghian
Editor: Jay Freund
Screenwriter: Tanaz Eshaghian
Cinematographer: Amir Hussein