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At just 14 years old, Asal has accepted a marriage proposal from a medical student with the blessing of her father. It’s young but, in Iran, not extraordinary for such an arrangement, where a fifth of all marriages are child marriages, with at least one person under 18. And so, naturally, each member of Asal’s family – including a constellation of her aunts and uncles – has their own opinion on the decision. With a non-judgmental eye, the UK-based Iranian filmmaker Elahe Esmaili captures their overlapping, contradictory and sometimes even self-contradictory opinions on the arrangement in her award-winning short documentary The Doll. Asal is excited about her engagement, but is it a decision that this girl, whose fiancé wooed her with gifts of sweets and dolls, could ever be expected to make responsibly? Does pairing so young make the marriage destined to fail, as has been the case for many of her family members, including her 35-year-old father? Will it interfere with her studies? By letting the cameras roll and allowing the family members to opine, Esmaili skilfully unfurls a complex tale of family, patriarchy and young womanhood.
Director: Elahe Esmaili
Producer: Hossein Behboudi Rad
Website: Jumping Ibex
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