Just like the early work of Mehrjui (his films The Cow and The Postman were screened at the very first festival) Bemani is a bitter and moving investigation of social relationships in Iranian society. With the stylistic devices so intrinsic in Iranian cinema, the spectator is buffeted to and fro between fiction and reality. From time to time, the fictional storyline is interrupted by interviews with the protagonists. The result is a powerful, gripping and above all angry story about the vicissitudes of women in the Iranian province of Ilam, where a striking number of young women immolate themselves.The protagonist is Bemani (her name means 'keep alive'), but the film also looks at the adventures of two of her girlfriends. They are all hardworking, clever and strong girls, who try to stay on their feet in a world which is not ripe for emancipation people are just too busy with surviving. A carpet weaver has to pay with her life for a conversation with a nice soldier; a medical student is forced by her father to give up her `immoral' study and sees no other way out than death; and Bemani herself is married off to an old man, only because her poor family then won't have to pay him any more rent. Bemani is determined not to give in that easily.