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AND ALONG CAME A SPIDER

WEDNESDAY 5 NOVEMBER AT 7:10PM UGC SHAFTESBURY AVE SCREEN 2

Country Iran Running Time 52 mins Format Digibeta Director/Producer/Screenplay/DoP Maziar Bahari Print Source Indigo E maziarbahari@yahoo.com

The first thing we learn is the identity of the man who killed 16 prostitutes in the city of Mashad, Iran. From the start, this is factual filmmaking with a difference. Saeed Hanaei stalked the streets of the holy city of Mashad for a year, killing women he saw as unclean. The murders were condemned by the authorities, but this film shows that feeling among the people of Mashad was nothing like as clear cut.

The film shows the theocratic nature of Iran's society and the position of women within it. Hanaei is serious about his 'work' and how it did good, keeping 'filth off the streets'; his brother jokes about the crimes, praising him. The father of an abused woman, however, believes that hanging is too good for him, and that he should be punished as he made others suffer - 'an eye for an eye'. Hanaei's defence is ridiculed by the judge, who seems blind to the fact that placing religious vagaries at the heart of law is inherently dangerous.

Though Hanaei is long executed, the effect of his crimes lives on. Bahari's film is powerful and disturbing, its most terrifying moment coming when Hanaei's son confesses to being proud of his father, and that he still has to decide whether or not to carry on his good work. NS

Born in Tehran, Maziar Bahari has been been Newsweek's Iran correspondent since 1998. His analysis of contemporary Iran is clearly visible in Along Came a Spider and Football, Iranian Style (2001). A Refugee Experience (2000) and his production of nine UNICEF shorts on children's rights demonstrate his commitment to global social issues.

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