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Home yet far away: The Feminine Iran, the masculine u.s., it's not a gender issue

Home Yet Far Away tells the multi-layered story of an Iranian-American daughter looking for love, reconciliation, and forgiveness with her father, while looking at feminine and masculine forces in Iranian and American cultures. All the while, she tries to envision a new dialogue and understanding between her two adversarial homelands.

Iranian born filmmaker Sabereh Kashi left her traditional mother and the restrictive gender politics of Iran to live a free lifestyle in the West. Years later in California, the shock of her mother passing prompts her to seek The Feminine, the energy of the body, emotion and connection and what she has missed through all the years spent on education, career, and immigration to the West. She travels for five years between Iran and America, staying six months in each, while building a closer relationship with her distant father.

Her search follows the path of the Persian Cinderella, Moon-forehead. Like this fairy tale, the death of her mother becomes her catalyst to seeking the divine Feminine, launching her into a frightening journey to the bottom of a well. Sabereh heads home to Iran a broken spirit – the life she sought in her 20s has eluded her, and she is divorced and lonely. Like Moon-forehead she confronts the monster in the well, her authority-figure father who insists that she stay or go and “stop clowning” in her life. She patiently takes care of him, so his harsh treatment gradually gives way to a deep understanding and respect for her dual life. Thus she leaves with a blessing of a light to find her way.

During visits to Tehran, among men and women walking in crowded sidewalks along small shops and food vendors, fashionable young people hanging in modern shopping malls and old bazaars, along with pollution and traffic, highrises and highways, Iran reveals itself to be caught between modern aspirations and ancient traditions, the beautiful imagery of mosques, palaces, houses, and bridges of Isfahan, the famous capital of Shah-Abbas the Great (1571-1629). In her return visits to Oakland, California to an old redwood house adorned with stained glass windows and abandoned objects, Sabereh meets new housemates in the co-operative house where she lives and engages in conversations with more than 100 transient residents. She reflects on her experience of growing up during the 1979 Iranian revolution and shares her despair about the threat of U.S. military action and crippling sanctions against Iran, remembering the horrifying years of the Iran-Iraq war.

Near the end of his life, her stoic father warms to his daughter. He even offers to dance for her film. Witnessing a Shia grieving ritual after her father’s death brings Sabereh to an epiphany that Iranian culture embodies the feminine and American culture the masculine. Inspired by a sacred geometric Sufi Islamic art created by her late uncle, Sabereh finds peace between the feminine and masculine, between Iran and her adopted home.

Directed by Sabereh Kashi