Meshkini’s three-part directorial début was scripted by Makhmalbaf. A girl turns nine and is told that she can no longer play with her male friends and must wear a concealing scarf. According to Islamic law she is now a woman. But Havva manages to bargain for an extra hour of birthday freedom. The second part opens with the startling sight of a gaggle of chador-clad women peddling furiously in a seaside women-only cycle race. They are clearly enjoying themselves, until Ahoo’s husband arrives on horseback to stop her. In the final, almost surreal, instalment, an old woman goes on a major shopping spree aided by young boys toting an ever-increasing procession of purchases. But what will she do with all of it? THE DAY I BECAME A WOMAN is a small film about bigger issues, an intimate portrait of three stages of a woman’s life, and a plea for the freedom represented by the film’s omnipresent sea.