Shaped by the experiences of the Iranian Revolution, Iranian-American autobiographers use this chaotic past to tell their current stories in the United States. Wagenknecht analyzes a wide range of such writing and draws new conclusions about migration, exile, and life between different and often clashing cultures.
The first movie produced by Afghanistan filmmakers after the fall of the Taliban, Osama is a searing portrait of life under the oppressive fundamentalist regime. Because women are not allowed to work, a widow disguises her young daughter (Marina Golbahari) as a boy so they won't starve to death. Simply walking the streets is frightening enough, but when the disguised girl is rounded up with all the boys in the town for religious training, her peril becomes absolutely harrowing. Golbahari's face–beautiful but taut with terror–is riveting. The movie captures both her plight and the miseries of daily life in spare, vivid images. At one point, her mother is nearly killed for exposing her feet while riding on the back of a bicycle; for the entire scene, the camera shows only her feet, with the spokes of the wheel radiating out behind as she lowers her burka over them.
Musician and film-maker Roxana Vilk lives in Scotland but grew up in Tehran. Her family left Iran in the wake of the Iranian Revolution in 1979 and since the breakdown of diplomatic relations between London and Tehran in 2011, she has been unable to return. In this film, Roxana explores her identity as a British-Iranian and finds out how to teach her children about a country they have never visited. From a tower block in Glasgow to the glamour of Los Angeles, home to the largest group of Iranians living abroad, she finds out how other Iranian migrants keep their culture alive. While some of the questions she raises are specific to the Iranian diaspora, this film speaks to broader issues of identity faced by immigrants the world over.