Here’s good evidence that the world will never run out of potential topics for a documentary.
Iran, according to this short film (well, not all that short, but under an hour), has the highest rate of nose jobs in the world. Nose Iranian Style examines the reasons for and consequences of this phenomenon.
My basic reaction was that it is a quirky enough topic to get my interest, but not to hold it for the duration of the film. It would have perhaps been better as a magazine article or a shorter film.
Because for one thing, there really aren’t many surprises. If I had been told that Iran has the most nose jobs in the world, and asked to speculate as to why, I think I could have anticipated the bulk of the story.
Predictably, it’s mostly young people, it’s more women than men but plenty of both, women do it in part because the way they’re normally dressed it’s one of the few parts of their body that actually shows, it’s done in an effort to conform to Western standards of beauty, and it’s intended to better one’s chances of attracting the opposite sex.
The surprise is that there isn’t more opposition and criticism, though it may be just that this particular film chose not to emphasize that. But I would think religious fundamentalists in a country like Iran would have a problem with copying the West out of motives of vanity, especially when it comes to women having the procedure. Or I would think there would be significant opposition from feminists, and from those who advocate that non-European peoples take more pride in how they naturally look.
Because it’s genuinely sad to see roomfuls of teenage girls–many of whom, by the way, don’t have noses that are the least bit big, even assuming that’s a bad thing–unanimous in their intentions to get nose jobs. Some of them are quite attractive, and certainly don’t need any such “enhancement.” But one states, apparently in all seriousness, that she wants a nose “like Michael Jackson.” Clearly there’s a problem here.
Plus some of these people interviewed ought to look into doing something about their teeth before they worry about their perfectly normal noses.
I wouldn’t say the film is necessarily celebrative of the phenomenon, but most criticism is mild and needs to be inferred. It’s pretty close to just a neutral presentation of facts. Probably the most negative thing is late in the film when we see the results of a few botched nose jobs. I don’t recommend seeing that section on an empty stomach.
It’s also worth noting that the film is marred by poor subtitling. I’m sure the people aren’t really talking in the equivalent of the sometimes broken English of the subtitles. Plus there are numerous misspellings and typos (“they” where “the” is meant occurs several times).
Again, it’s a somewhat interesting topic, but I didn’t think it was examined in such a way as to justify nearly an hour.