A nineteen-year-old is sentenced to death for stabbing the man who tried to assault her—this footage, smuggled illegally out of Iran, follows the seven years she spent in prison and her family’s fight for justice.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2023
In 2007, nineteen-year-old Reyhaneh Jabbari is attacked by a man trying to sexually assault her. She defends herself by stabbing him, and escapes. He dies, and she is arrested. It is revealed that he was a former intelligence agent. Reyhaneh Jabbari is convicted of his murder and sentenced to death.
During her seven years in prison, Jabbari is tortured and forced to confess to having premeditated the murder. Her family visits her often, secretly videoing their meetings. Seven Winters in Tehran is the result of that footage, smuggled illegally out of Iran and narrated with the letters Rehyaneh wrote from prison, intercut with candid interviews with Reyhaneh’s parents and sisters. For seven years the Jabbari family fight for Reyhaneh’s release, until they are told Reyhaneh could be pardoned on one condition—that she recants the sexual assault allegation.
This harrowing study of injustice is at once a brutal condemnation of Iran’s corrupt, patriarchal legal system and a striking portrait of Reyhaneh Jabbari’s enduring dignity. — Amanda Jane Robinson