Tahmineh Milani was born in Tabriz, Iran in 1960, she graduated in architecture but embarked on a career in filmmaking, beginning with a screenwriting workshop in 1979. She apprenticed as script girl and assistant director on several films, then authored a screenplay for Mohammad Reza Alami's Love and Death.
Internationally acclaimed filmmaker Tahmineh Milani has taken on touchy topics, from women's struggles in a male-run society to misconceptions about the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Her most recent film, The Hidden Half, landed her in jail, in 2001, after the Tehran Revolutionary Court took exception to her depiction of the events in '79 and charged her with supporting counterrevolutionaries. The film features a woman's memories of working with leftist rebels in her university days after the victory of revolution. She's also portrayed a young girl's love of an older man before marriage, which raised an ethical issue. Khatami's reformist government, which approved the film before it was made, leapt to her defense and she was consequently released from jail after two weeks.
"One of the most important problems that we are faced with in Iran's society is that we are unable to express our true personality…," she says. "For both men and women, their lives inside their homes where it is private is one way and outside of their homes where they have to observe social regulations it is another way… Our women also have two faces inside their homes: the image of what their spouses or their spouses' families want them to have, and what is inside them."