Sepideh (2014 Sundance capsule)Photo courtesy of Mohammad Reza, Jahan Panah & Sundance Institute Movies Reviews Sundance
Sepideh takes us inside a place where young girls are discouraged from envisioning a world outside of their own, but do so anyway. Berit Madsen’s debut film is a love story first and a documentary second, telling the heartbreaking and powerful tale of Sepideh Hooshyar, a high school student in Iran who dreams of a life among the stars. At age seventeen, Sepideh is a revolutionary thinker—an aspiring astronaut in a society that condemns her for going outside at night to stargaze, for learning how to use a telescope before learning how to cook. The film plays seamlessly—almost like a work of fiction—and follows her as she joins an astronomy club and goes from simply wanting to be like her idol, Anousheh Ansari (the first Iranian in space), to coming fact-to-face with the icon at the end of her journey (a journey that is only the beginning for Sepideh). This glimpse into her life and her world offers so much insight into politics, education, feminism and class issues in Iran, but does so all through the eyes of this young girl and her family. Even as the film is unflinchingly honest about the reality of life for an Iranian girl, Sepideh is ultimately a hopeful piece, a compelling visual experience, and an unforgettable inspirational film about the beauty of dreaming big.
Director: Berit Madsen
Starring: Anousheh Ansari, Hadi Hooshyar, Mohammad Hooshyar
Production Details: Radiator Film ApS, 90 minutes