Be Like Others

by Tanaz Eshaghian
A provocative look at young Iranian men choosing to undergo sex- change surgery.
2008  ·  1h14m  ·  Canada, Iran (Islamic Republic of), United States
English, Persian
English subs
About the Film
An intimate and unflinching look at life in Iran, seen through the lens of those living at its fringes, BE LIKE OTHERS is a provocative look at a generation of young men choosing to undergo sex change surgery. In the Islamic Republic of Iran, a country with strict social mores and traditional values, sex-change operations are legal. Over twenty years ago, Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa (religious edict) making sex change permissible for “diagnosed transsexuals.” Yet homosexuality is still punishable by death. With Iran’s international arms negotiations dominating news headlines worldwide, a very private kind of drama is unfolding behind the scenes. Highly feminine and attracted to members of the same sex, yet forced to live in secret for fear of retribution, a generation of young Iranian men are adopting an identity legally allowed to them—transsexual. In pursuit of what one man calls simply, “a decent life,” they flock to the country’s best-established gender reassignment surgeon, Dr. Bahram Mir Jalali, and are counseled by 24-year-old Vida, a post-op woman who claims to be “reborn” but warns of dangers that still await. Iranian-American filmmaker Tanaz Eshaghian accompanies several young men as they contemplate and prepare for their transformation, then follows them into and out of surgery. Intimate and unflinching, BE LIKE OTHERS is a fascinating look at those on the fringes of Iranian life—those looking for acceptance through the most radical of means.
Upcoming Screenings

Stay tuned for upcoming screenings!

Festivals and Awards
2008
Sundance Film Festival, Official Selection
2008
Sundance Film Festival, Nominated Grand Jury Prize
2008
Berlin Film Festival, Official Selection
2008
Berlin Film Festival, Winner Teddy Jury Award
2008
Berlin Film Festival, Winner Reader Jury of the "Siegessäule
2008
Berlin Film Festival, Special Mention Amnesty International Film Prize
2008
Thessaloniki Documentary Festival, Official Selection
In the Press
Review
Director
Tanaz Eshaghian
Producer
Tanaz Eshaghian
Editor
Sandy Patch
Co-director
Producer
Christoph Jörg & Alexandra Kerry
Sound Editor
Researcher
Soundtrack Composer
Henning Lohner
Translator
Writer
Tanaz Eshaghian
About the Director

Tanaz Eshaghian

Tanaz’s latest DER release is Love Iranian – American Style, a documentary film about her traditional Iranian family’s obsession with her getting married. The film premiered at the New York Jewish Film Festival at Lincoln Center in January 2006. Before that she directed, produced and edited the short documentary film I Call Myself Persian: Iranians in America, which documents the backlash against Iranians residing in the U.S. whenever something anti-American happens, from the Iran hostage crisis to the WTC attacks. I Call Myself Persian has aired on PBS in Boston, Chicago, and Detroit, and screened at the Museum of Modern Art’s prestigious Documentary Fortnight. Tanaz also directed and produced From Babylon To Beverly Hills: The Exodus of Iran’s Jews which was screened at many anthropological film festivals around the world. She is a graduate of Brown University and has a Masters in Media Studies from The New School in New York City.

(Image courtesy of Documentary Educational Resources.)

 

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