International Premiere


| Iran | 54 MINUTES | Persian
After reading a newspaper account about young girls in a Kurdish village near Iran's border with Iraq who are forced to leave school and get married once they turn twelve, filmmaker Mania Akbari sets out to shoot a documentary on the subject. But since American forces have just been deployed on the Iraqi side of the border, the Iranian police block her. From the villagers, the director learns about Ayesheh, whom they have dubbed "Stone Woman" because her body produces crystals in her eyelids and uterus. After meeting her, the filmmaker tries to help Ayesheh get medical treatment, but meets with resistance from her father and brother, who use people's curiosity about the woman's illness as a source of income. The bond that develops between the two women soon leads to a long and emotional journey for both of them. Finding herself in a big city for the first time, Ayeshe reveals her suppressed desire to be an independent woman. And Akbari, who played the lead in Abbas Kiarostami's critically acclaimed film Ten (2001) discovers, as she describes it, a lost part of herself. Akbari has yet to receive permission to show Crystal in Iran because of her refusal to remove several brief shots that display the subject's uncovered hair.

Cast & Credits
Directed by
Mania Akbari
Mania Akbari was born in Iran in 1974. Her artistic activity began with painting, having participated in ten group and three individual exhibitions held throughout Iran, and three group exhibitions abroad. Akbari then moved into film, working as a photographer for the documentary film Barge-e-Sabz (Green Leaf), as an assistant director on Pir-e-Haraz, and as lead actress in director Abbas Kiarostami's film, Ten. In addition to directing her documentary film Crystal, she has directed numerous video art works, including Self (June 2003), Repression (July 2003), Sin (October 2003), and Escape (December 2003). In February 2004, Akbari directed the feature film, 20 Fingers.


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