Director: Mahtab Mansour [in person], 2015, Iran/France/Italy, 38 minutes.
Talk radio Tehran is a documentary realized and directed by Mahtab Mansour in 2015. The title drift from the beat of ‘talk radio’ that drive the movie in the life of three women. Women who defy stereotypes by occupying unusual jobs in today’s Iranian society. The spectator follows them in their workplace, on the bus, in a garage repairing a car or on intervention. We hear their testimonies as well as interviews with other people who are asked by the film maker to give their opinion on women working as firemen or rally racers. The answers given show very diverse views within the society and answers also vary when only women or men are interviewed.
Madam Nosrat was the first female bus driver in Tehran when she started 10 years ago. Since then she has been driving a bus following the same route every day. While she is working, her husband make the household and always make find dinner ready to his lady. In Iran women, must sit in the back of the bus. The first impression for a western spectator can be bad, but the documentary teaches us how the Iranian mentality works. The women must sit there because usually the driver is a man and Islamic law doesn’t permit public mixing of the genders. Not because women are seen as inferior. When madam Nosrat drive, all the ladies have to sit in the front places of the bus and the men in the back.
Zohreh is a rally racer who won several championship prizes. She drives very good and knows everything about cars and how to repair it. Zohreh is also a very chic and female woman and she is respectful of traditions and costumes of their Country.
Sepideh forms with her colleagues the world’s only all-female fire fighting team and the only women firefighters in the Middle East. This project was request by the mayor of Tehran after a bad accident happened some years ago. In a swimming pool was an over level of chlorine, but the firefighters can’t save the women because their were in swimsuit. For the Islamic law as men they can’t touch the women, the only thing they could do was watching the ladies die. The citizens swear that a thing like that can’t happen again.
Women are still subject to a strict Islamic dress code in Iran, though at the moment it is loosely enforced. But there is a women’s police division. Women parliamentarians and even vice presidents.
With passion, humor and daring, these women change the status quo. Talk Radio Tehran with an ironical and provocative narrative, expose a society often in conflict with itself.