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Good and bad
Aghdashloo's character in House of Sand and Fog was a weak woman

December 27, 2003
The Iranian

I also saw House of Sand and Fog but my point of view has two major differences with Zohreh Ghahremani's [House of Shohreh].

Shohreh Aghdashloo and Ben Kingsley appeared on the stage together and he accepted a lifetime achievement award. What impressed me was his recognition of Aghdashloo as a good actress. I had no doubt that Kingsley would deliver a magnificent portrayal of an Iranian husband.

I had met Aghdashloo in person in a small gathering last March and she was very sweet and down to earth, not to mention very attractive. I am not saying these compliments because her comments after the host introduced me to her were "ghorboonesh beram, we need more women like her." I had seen her performances in Iran and in some comedies before meeting her.

The movie was great and she was very good. But I hated the role of the demur, submissive and under educated Iranian wife. In fact I am struggling with that portrayal and planning to write to DreamWorks Studios to please make sure to present images of Iranian women who are eloquent in English, cultured and equally aware of their rights in this country.

My 17 year old loved the movie. But he was very quiet because he was so emotional. He even complained to me that they had made Iranian women look like they are ruled by their husbands and have no mind of their own.

I also thought the ending was perfect and is much closer to the truth: there was no acceptance of humiliation or continuation of the pretending to be well off. I thought Kingsley was going to be nominated for a Best Actor award and I was right. Not even for a second did I think Hooshang Tozie (Aghdashloo's husband) would have done justice to this role.

There is one other important point. Although my son was born here in the US, I often remind him about knowing his rights. I have mentioned situations when people would show up at your house threatening to take away your citizenship. He dismissed my advice but this movie confirmed to him why we must be very aware of our rights because we could be the subject of harassment, thanks to the Patriot Act.

I hope everyone who sees this movie asks the film industry to show a more positive image of Iranian women. There are plenty of role models all over the place. Just look around!

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By Azam Nemati

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Book of the day

House of Sand and Fog
Novel about a former colonel in the Iranian military living in San Francisco
By Andre Dubus III

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