The Unseen

Behzad Nalbandi • 65m

During the times when Tehran hosts foreign dignitaries, the local authorities clean up Tehran’s urban image through an ‘urban beautification’ process which includes the rounding up of unsavory characters from the city streets; i.e. drug addicts and prostitutes. The men are released after a few days but the women are kept as wards of the state in perpetuity. They are sent to holding centers on the outskirts of the city where no records are kept by the social workers; these women cease to exist. A friend of my sister, happened to work in one of these detention centers, and she helped me go there with a recorder and interview some of the women without any officials. I explained to each woman what I was doing and asked for their permission and promised them not to film them. This animated documentary attempts to give a just voice to homeless women taken off the streets against their will, stripped of their rights and kept incarcerated until their lives end.