The Mirror (Ayneh)

The Mirror is a 1997 Iranian film directed by Jafar Panahi, about a little girl trying to find her way home from school.

This story takes many turns throughout and tries to portray different meanings to an otherwise simplistic film

Mina, a first-grader, waits for her mother to pick her up from school. The movie is about her journey to find her way home amidst the noise, confusion and chaos of Tehran. Mina is dressed in school uniform (with a head scarf), has one arm in a cast and is holding a school bag in the other. She meets a lot of people on her way and most of them try to help her while others are surprisingly not bothered by her situation.

Eventually, the movie takes a turn when the girl looks into the camera for the first time, breaking the fourth wall, and someone shouts from off-screen, “Mina, don’t look into the camera!” That is when we realise she is just playing a role of a 1st grader. Mina announces that she doesn’t want to act in the movie any more and wants to go home. In the end she goes home after returning the microphone.

I noticed throughout the film is that she is taken to all different locations by complete strangers and she goes free after she quits her acting, she is a child who recounts her steps back home in a childish manner without intricate details or factual ones, they deal with color,shapes and roads. (Heart shaped metal bars at the Terminus)

Most of the people she interacts with are mostly men and that makes me question the idea of it being a “mans world” and how she like every other female is dependant on a man to get her tasks done and she cant get from one place to the other without their assistance.

Her lines are also repetitive when she says” take me to this avenue with a road like this” or to a place similar to how she describes it.

The silent portions of the film give it a pause every now and then and they in a way help the viewer to take in what all is happening.

I feel it is called Ayneh ( Mirror) because she doesn’t recognise her own vision when she looks in the mirror as she has been given a character of a 1st grader which she despises, as she cannot relate with that image and she hold onto the microphone till she reaches home so that she can tell the viewers her reality and more so herself, the real her and not the act she has been forced to play.





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