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Iranian woman's dreams about space travel take shape in Danish documentary

Source: Tehran Times

Danish filmmaker Berit Madsen has directed a documentary about Sepideh Hushyar, a young Iranian woman who dares to plan for her future as an astronaut. The documentary entitled Sepideh (Break of Dawn) was screened at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) on Monday. It was filmed by Iranian cameraman Mohammadreza Jahanpanah.

Sepideh Hushyar in a scene from Sepideh (Break of Dawn)

At night, Sepideh, who lives in Saadatshahr in the southern Iranian province of Fars, stares up at the universe, and she is taking lessons from a space devotee who teaches schoolchildren about astronomy.

At home, filled with hope and longing, she watches films of Iran's first female astronaut, Anousheh Ansari. So it is possible!

When her father died suddenly six years ago, Sepideh discovered that she could feel closer to him by watching the stars. And so her dream was born, but not everyone appreciates her boundless ambition.

After all, becoming an astronaut is not exactly a normal goal for a young woman in Iran, particularly because she has no money to pay for university and beyond.

Her mother and uncle are worried about the emancipated young woman. She doesn't want to learn to cook, hardly ever visits her family and doesn't seem to be thinking about marriage at all.

The documentary follows this brave young Iranian woman as she watches the stars, as well as at school, in the mosque and at home, where tensions steadily rise.

It also explores just how much at odds her dreams are with her current reality and the expectations of those around her. Fortunately, Sepideh is able to express all her thoughts, dreams and cares in the letters she writes to her hero, Albert Einstein.

Synposis (by Danish Film Institute):

Meet SEPIDEH, a young Iranian astronomer who dreams of becoming an astronaut. - In "Break of Dawn", Madsen tells the story of 16-year-old Sepideh who wants to become an astronaut.

But that is easier said than done for the young girl who is tied by family traditions and cultural codes according to which nightly stargazing is far from being considered an appropriate occupation for a young girl. Sepideh's mother is concerned that the desert excursions may shame the family, and Sepideh's uncle, head of the family, opposes her insistence on spending the nights under the open sky.

But Sepideh has promised her dead father to follow her dream.

With "Break of Dawn", Berit Madsen wants to tell a universal story of a young girl at the crossroads between childhood and adulthood. At the same time, Madsen sees much more in Sepideh than just another teenager. Her stargazing represents the conflicts between the Iranian traditions and young Iranians' desire to determine their own lifestyles, and Sepideh's story shows proof that it takes enormous courage to confront a conservative society.

... Payvand News - 11/29/13 ... --

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