Negar Tahsili, Wee-men or Women?! 2008. 26:00
The social and political positions of and towards women in Iran—its government prohibits feminism in both theory and practice—are main concerns of Negar Tahsili’s documentary films, including her latest, The Rose and the Nightingale (2012), comprised of interviews interrogating the notions of gender in Iran with artists, critics, and academics. Her earlier film Wee-men or Women?! (2008) features a talkative female-only Tehran taxi driver at work, as it conjures-up the cinematic genre situated in a taxicab, from Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver to Abbas Kiarostami’s Ten. Tehran’s taxis constitute a bustling, floating world in transit that is neither private nor public, and their drivers, like benevolent bogeymen, carry passengers and news, including as informants to the government. In Tahsili’s film, potential dangers of public transportation for women traveling alone are discussed; a parallel presentation of self-defense courses for women undercuts these presumed dangers with a measure of humor. An attack comes unexpected; and neither special transportation nor martial arts will provide protection from this powerful assailant.