Melina is a young Iranian girl with divorced parents, living with her grandparents. Celebrating her 9th birthday Melina legally comes of age in Iranian society, allowing her to take her custody case to court to get the legal permission to live with her mother.
Melina is an excellent student and as a reward is promised a trip abroad by her mother, but her father refuses to grant the travel permission. Tensions rise high. This challenge of the trip parallels the many struggles Melina lives through daily. On the one hand Melina is forced to deal with her distant father, who is not afraid to physically abuse her. On the other she questions her relationship with her mainly absent mother.
Melina grows up much too fast having to deal with adult issues. She starts to realize her mother doesn’t want to take her in. Her new husband will not accept Melina and her mother will not leave him for her. Eventually Melina decides not to bring her case to court, knowing it won’t solve her actual problems. Instead, she holds her own trail of her mother in an intimate but hard confrontation during the last act of the film.
My focus is on Melina and the emotional process she is going through. I feel I need to bring Melina’s story, not only because being her aunt she is so close to me, but mainly because her story is recognizable for so many people around the world. I am happy and relieved that Melina is growing up in a middle-class family. She is well fed, has a nice bed to sleep in and is supported and loved by her kind grandparents. She is not confronted with instantaneous life-threatening dangers, but it can’t be denied that her mental wellbeing is pushed and stretched to an extent that is far too much for a child. When we talk of child neglect and physical harm, middle class environments seem hardly touched, because it happens behind closed doors. I’m ‘privileged’ as Melina’s aunt to explore such case evolving right in front of my eyes, embedded without any door or obstacle in between my film brings the audience a hardly seen intimate insight in the life and thoughts during a disruptive coming of age.