Mania Akbari

Mania Akbari

Robber of Reality

Mania Akbari has made films that have upset the religious establishment in Iran, and as a result she lives in exile. But this has not prevented her from continuing to make her controversial films. Watch her talk about being a filmmaker in this extensive interview.

“I think that painting is my father and the products of this father are cinema and video art.” Akbari started out as a painter, but found that she needed more space and possibilities in order to express the things she wanted to convey: “My sense was that this medium and this father demanded release one day for me to be able to tell my stories.”

The pendulum-like play between dreams and reality is of great interest to Akbari, who feels that one can uncover meaning in the space between the two: “I always think if you were to completely lose your dreams, perhaps your mental death has arrived. Likewise, if you are in a constant dream state and lose a sense of reality the effect will be the same.”

Akbari stresses that though she is no “cinema lover”, she still acknowledges cinema's ability to serve as a tool for a story to reach the public and “transform it from a geographical and simple story to a concept.” Through this the viewer can “see with his or her eyes, hear the sound, read the subtitles – and a triangular subliminal relationship is born.”

Mania Akbari (b. 1974 in Tehran, Iran) is an internationally acclaimed Iranian filmmaker, actress, painter and writer, whose works deal with themes such as sexual identity, women, marriage, abortion, infidelity and lesbianism. Because of the themes discussed in her films and her opposition to censorship, she is considered one of the most controversial filmmakers in Iran. Her first feature-length film ’20 Fingers’ (2004), which was a study of marriage and sexual identity, won the best film prize at the Venice Film Festival’s Digital Cinema section. During the production of her film ‘From Tehran to London’ (2012-13), Iranian authorities arrested her distributor, and Akbari chose to flee to London. Retrospectives of her films have been featured at international venues such as BFI, Oldenburg International Film Festival and the Danish Film Institute. For more about Mania Akbari see:

Mania Akbari was interviewed by Marc-Christoph Wagner at the Danish Film Institute in Copenhagen, Denmark in 2014.

Camera: Steen Møller Rasmussen
Edited by: Kamilla Bruus and Roxanne Bagheshirin Lærkesen
Produced by: Marc-Christoph Wagner
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2015

Supported by Nordea-fonden

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