The Marriage Project (2020)
Directed by Atieh Attarzadeh Firozabad and Hesam Eslami, 80 mins
Encourage the patients from a mental hospital to form relationships with each other, get married and live as a family.
That’s the bold new idea of the head of Ehsan House in Southern Tehran. For the past 20 years, its 480 patients have lived in separate male and female units with no hope of ever leaving or of having meaningful emotional and sexual relationships.
In 2017 the head of the centre secured the money to build a new unit of marital facilities. Despite strong opposition, he was convinced the patients would benefit from being in a couple.
As a selection committee begins evaluating patients, hidden affections come to the surface. Finally, the team selects two patients to form the first couple. Are these two patients capable of having a relationship that leads to marriage? What do their families think? And what about the patients who weren’t selected but still crave human relationships?
The panel discussion after the screening was moderated by Dr Peter Jarrett, retired psychiatrist and Global Health Film Trustee. Peter was joined by co-directors Atieh Attarzadeh Firozabad and Hesam Eslami, and consultant forensic psychiatrist Dr Kiki O'Neill-Byrne. Here's the replay: