Local Release

(Taxiddrivers) Bi Roya Without Her' at Horizons Extra.

Roya is an Iranian journalist banned by the government and, at her husband's insistence, is preparing to emigrate to Denmark. She is two weeks away from departure when she meets a silent young woman. The girl seems to be lost and to remember nothing. Roya takes her in, unaware that the girl has left her former life precisely to replace Roya. A few days later, Roya learns that she cannot leave Iran unless she reports a colleague to government authorities. As soon as Roya communicates her refusal to betray her friends, the girl steals her identity and, with the help of Babak, Roya's husband, takes her place in his life. As she struggles to regain her identity, Roya notices that, surprisingly, no one remembers her and everyone mistakes the girl for her. Babak kicks Roya out of the house and the authorities decree that she be exiled to another life, in which she is a submissive housewife named Hanieh.


The director's words

The story of a person losing her identity may initially seem surreal, but when placed in a context where you are condemned for who you are, it becomes entirely realistic. Roya fights for what she believes in, but soon realizes that individual choices are just an illusion when the system wants to define you at all costs. Roya loses her true identity and learns a simple and tragic lesson: You either change yourself and adapt, or you are eliminated to be replaced by those who do. I tried to enact this fictional plot in the realism of Iranian cinema, as a tribute to the intellectuals who pass for fools in a city supposedly ruled by the wise.


"I started as a self-taught filmmaker and only landed in film school many years later," says Vazirdaftari. "My international experiences really helped me. I got to know a more professional atmosphere globally, I learned what is happening in film festivals, how films are selected and distributed."

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