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Review | Shirin Ebadi:Until We Are Free

  • News
  • January 23 2023
  • 3 min read

Movie: Shirin Ebadi: Until We Are Free

Director: Dawn Gifford Engle



“The human spirit, you know what they say about the human spirit? It is harder than a rock and more delicate than a flower petal.”

― Nadia Hashimi, The Pearl That Broke Its Shell 


Freedom and women – the two words together often do not match. Throughout history, it is the women who have suffered and felt miserable. They have been treated like subordinates to their male guardians and have often been tortured. But with time the awareness came and the women started to claim their power back. The world moved forward even though the condition of women did not see much improvement.

While Freedom is natural to some people, it is a dream to many Iranian people! In her documentary “Shirin Ebadi: Until We Are Free”, Dawn Glifford Engle has shown the bitter reality of a part of our world. While the rest of the world has tasted freedom after many years of relentless struggle, Iran is still fighting its own war. The pain and trauma of the Iranian women is echoed throughout the documentary and through Shirin’s narrations!

The movie opens up in a world full of brightness and hope and then we witness Ebadi’s speech where she emphasises on the atrocities committed against women and children in Iran.

The movie then focuses on Shirin’s life in Iran and as her narrative goes on, we see how the benevolent and rich traditions of Persia are slowly changing into a malevolent and regressive regime. Through Shirin’s eyes we see her childhood. It was a world full of happiness, freedom and most importantly respect and love for one another. Shirin was blessed with parents who never differentiated between a boy and a girl, and always provided all of them equal opportunities. Her dream world came to an end soon and she understood how the time was changing. After graduating from the law school her struggle to voice her opinion began.

Shirin’s life gives us a glimpse of a world we have never seen or known properly. What the women of Iran experience is brutal, it is cruel enough to end their dreams and hopes. In this world full of opportunities and scopes, Iran is still going backwards. Shirin remarks how crucial and progressive the history of Persia has been and now all those are long gone. She laments the cultural heritage and criticises the dark time that is still prevailing over Iran. Shirin’s fight for her voice and freedom has made her an alien to her own land, she had to leave her own soil and root in a foreign country. Even after that, Shirin has been courageous enough to fight for what is right.

Through this movie Dawn Glifford Engle shows us the reality of a part of the world that stands as a sign of our ignorance. The movie also shows excerpts from Shirin’s life and attempts to highlight how Iran is still torn and suffering. Dawn’s documentary is a reminder that the world is falling and it is time we gather against the atrocities. 

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