By Sohrab Akhavan (Translated by Nina Attar)


You and I, both in exile, in loneliness, and a world between us… When sharing the same destiny, we intertwine into each other and stand up leaning on each other as if we are the branches of the strongest tree. A tree of unity that contains one female and one male branch.

I went to a private screening of an upcoming new film in a studio in Los Angeles.

I only knew the writer/director of the film who is an intellectual and perceptive young man with a brilliantly creative mind. This must be his 4th feature film that was made in a short time and made him well known amongst his fellow filmmakers.

In a small movie theater of about 15 people from media and those who were involved in making the film were present. The film is called Zoya.

From the get go, we realized this is the sad story of our own lives. It is a story of every human, even the ones who feel very fortunate. A story that doesn’t believe in salvation and recognizes religion to be the source of world’s tragedies and regional disastrous events. A source that we are forced to accept and follow its principles.

It’s a strange world. Any direction I look at is full of monsters who are waiting for an excuse to hurt me.

Is life really about faith, promotion of virtue, and the prevention of vice?

Are you the ones responsible for every human on Earth? Who granted you such responsibility and authority?

If I cover my hair will I go to Heaven?

If I stay a virgin until I die, will that be my ticket to Heaven?

Why is being born a girl my main crime?

Why do you even care if I go to Heaven or Hell? Let me go to my Hell so you can have more space in your Heaven.

Why do you think it is your business whether I end up in Heaven or Hell? Why is that you think you are in charge of my covered or uncovered hair? Why do you care about my short-sleeved top, or the way I choose to vocalize my beliefs?

The God, that you kill me in his name, is my God too.

Where is God to save me from you now?
What am I guilty of other than being honest, vocalizing and showing the truth? Isn’t that what journalists are meant to do?

You have so much hatred within you that your only way to cover all your pain from others is to take their sight away from them.

Come back to your senses… open your eyes and see that life is not all pain. Once your destiny is decided, you can have your revenge from the devil by showing love to your enemy. You can celebrate the end and dance. You can become human. “Everything else is circumstance.”

These are all my feelings towards this heavily dramatic film that beautifully connected many moments together with his sharp and creative mind. The story was deep and full of unspoken truths. The story required someone brave to personalize such tragedies for the audience. Choosing a dark and compact setting of the film gave us a sense of suffocation in life. The writer and director of this movie Zoya is Saeed Khoze who has other controversial films such as Damn Foreigners and Virginity in his resume.

Saeed is descendant of a former politician of Iran. I admire his courage, knowledge, and honesty.

Cast: Christina Sadeh – Zoya, Hossein Mardani – Pier
Written and Directed by: Saeed Khoze
Produced by: Edwin Avaness, Saeed Khoze, Tigran Mutafyan


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