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The Mirror (1997)

Ayneh (original title)
When a young girl becomes lost in the hustle and bustle of Tehran, her journey turns into a dazzling exercise on the nature of film itself. In this ingenious and daringly original feature, ... See full summary »


Jafar Panahi


Jafar Panahi

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4 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »


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Cast overview:
Mina Mohammad Khani Mina Mohammad Khani ... Little Girl / Mina
Aida Mohammadkhani Aida Mohammadkhani ... Mina
Kazem Mojdehi Kazem Mojdehi
Naser Omuni Naser Omuni
M. Shirzad M. Shirzad
T. Samadpour T. Samadpour


When a young girl becomes lost in the hustle and bustle of Tehran, her journey turns into a dazzling exercise on the nature of film itself. In this ingenious and daringly original feature, world renowned director Jafar Panahi (The White Balloon, Crimson gold) has wrapped a blunt political critique inside the layers of a deceptively simple film. Written by [from video jacket]

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

school | girl | city | little girl | iran | See All (38) »




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Release Date:

25 November 1998 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El espejo See more »

Filming Locations:

Tehran, Iran


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,741, 2 October 1998

Gross USA:

$44,970, 6 June 1999
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Rooz Film See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Jafar Panahi's 2nd feature film. See more »


Referenced in Pirated Copy (2004) See more »

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User Reviews

Reflections out of Iran
7 February 2013 | by ArtimidorSee all my reviews

This is a film about a girl going home. Apparently her mother failed to pick our little heroine up, and the feisty second grader sets out to find her way through the asphalt jungle all by herself. Well, there's more to it of course. It's the asphalt jungle of Tehran and the film was directed by Jafar Panahi, one of the innovative film makers of the Iranian New Wave. Not that his latest works are allowed to be shown in his home country, mind you. Sentenced to a six-year jail term in 2010 and banned from directing he nevertheless defiantly made an iPhone production called "This Is Not a Film" about his situation and managed to smuggle it out of Iran and tell the world.

The Iranian situation as such is already portrayed firsthand in Panahi's early 1997 film. A representative of the next generation, a child, in the center, we witness its abandonment by the adults. We eavesdrop on them complaining, but not really listening, observe the gender segregation on public transport (albeit through an innocent perspective in between as the missing link), but in a sea of scarves, uniform looks and the all encompassing everyday turmoil one can barely get a glimpse of something one could call "individuality"... In the words of Panahi: Everyone is wearing a mask, plays a role. Thanks to the stark realism present in Iranian movies we become part of the life and the hustle and bustle therein, get sucked in by following the odyssey through a child's eye. And we'll reach a point in the film where a clever twist cranks it all even up a notch. Thus a very real situation turns even more real and it results in a powerful reflection with a double meaning, within the film and outside of it. As in his preceding picture "The White Balloon", also centering on a cast of children, the tone in Panahi's "The Mirror" is light, and the film is entertaining throughout, yet layered and thought-provoking. There's someone who stands up to find a way, lost, but determined, wandering around in need for directions. But there's a fundamental difference between directions and direction, as the viewer might notice. No coincidence either that this someone we're talking about is a girl, the focus of some of Panahi's other works. Or let's say it that way: This is not a film... about a girl going home.

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