Ma dar behesht
The twenty-five-year-old teacher Hanieh teaches little girls the rules they have to comply with in the patriarchal society of Iran, while she herself seems to be having increasing difficulty with the strict customs. A well-fitted hijab is for one’s own safety, she tells her pupils, and yet it doesn’t stop men in the street harassing her or kidnapping young girls. Imprisoned in a world of contrasts - between the rebellious deeds of nursery school girls and the strict attitude of older managers - she feels her own open-mindedness slowly evaporating.
With a limited palette of colours, cameraman Payam Sadeghi captures Hanieh's situation in claustrophobic shots and compositions. It turns Paradise into both an intimate and suffocating character study. There are many pseudonyms on the credits, and apologies by the filmmaker to the people who unwittingly took part in this film by appearing on screen.