(Review) Mania Akbari’s ‘One.Two.One’

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One.Two.One was the first film of Mania’s that I had ever seen. When I first went to watch it I had little knowledge of who she was or what the movie was even about. I was simply told about the screening and decided to go on a whim. I was not disappointed.

 

The way in which she shot her film was very strange to me, as i’m quite used to mainstream cinema. For a film running at 79 minutes it was quite odd that she used close up shots for all of her scenes, never fitting more than two characters in one shot. At first this made the shots feel very awkward in my opinion, but towards the end of the film I realised the close awkwardness of the shots really forced you to pay attention to the “one two one” (as the title suggests) conversations at hand: to the words, the body language and the facial expressions being used. The way the scenes were filmed really made the dialogue feel that much more personal.

 

The film is based around an attractive young Iranian woman called Ava who has fallen victim to facial disfigurement and how she deals with the changes in how society will view her and also in the way she views herself. It shows her healing process and how she grows stronger as a person. I think the film really challenged the idea of femininity and beauty, especially in a society where women are traditionally submissive. Whenever we saw Ava, we only really saw the part of her face that hadn’t been disfigured, and she still looked just as beautiful. I think Mania may have done  this to remind us that the acid attack couldn’t take her beauty away as there is more to a woman’s beauty than just her physical appearance. When other characters talk of Ava they talk of her like she’s suffering and like she’s a victim; as one would expect. They always mention how beautiful she was before the accident and how its so sad that her beautiful face was affected. Through the beginning Ava seems a tad lost and confused but it’s almost like a journey, as the film progresses we see Ava open up and just get stronger and stronger. Whenever we see Ava, she’s going on about her life as normal focusing on the future not really looking back at the past, taking charge of her life and not conforming to anyone’s wishes. Especially in her interactions with men, we really see just how strong she is. Ava was put in this situation due to the misogyny and jealousy of a man, instead of losing her they tried to strip her of her beauty.  Suggesting that a womans beauty makes her what she is. However, Ava shows that that isn’t the case. She doesn’t let men dictate her future, although she now lives with scars Ava is still running her relationships, turning down suitors, telling men how it is regardless of their feelings. Rather than being submissive, Ava comes across very dominant.

 

I think the film mirrors Manias own journey with self confidence and her idea of what makes a woman. After the screening Mania was talking about her battles with breast cancer and her eventually coming to terms with it and being happy with her body which helped me get a better understanding of where her mind was when she made the film. The film was a learning experience for me personally, as I think it just caused me to think more; especially in the way, I deal with women and also in how I would raise my daughter to think if I was to have a daughter of my own.