Growing up in poverty, Behnoush became a drug addict as a young adult and had three children with different men, drifting to the bottom of Iranian society before she managed to turn her life around. With the help of Khaneh Khorshid, a non-profit, she overcame her drug addiction and has been clean for more than three years. As a social worker in the south of Tehran, Behnoush now helps those who are in a similarly hopeless situation as she once was. She hands out condoms to female prostitutes, educates them about sexually transmitted diseases, and provides first aid to homeless people living in the parks of this impoverished area of Iran’s capital.
My portrait of Behnoush was one segment of a five-part ARTE documentary series called One Day in Tehran, first broadcast in June, 2018. The project was produced by Alegria Productions in Paris and shown under the title Un jour à Téhéran on ARTE France and Ein Tag in Teheran on ARTE Germany. The French version of my documentary, Seconde chance, can be viewed online until August 7, 2018, at ARTE France. The German version, Eine zweite Chance, is available at ARTE Deutschland for the same duration.
This was not an easy film to make, given the difficult subject and some deeply emotional events that happened to Behnoush at the time of filming. But I feel that it is a story worth telling (and viewing) because Behnoush shows great determination to overcome the many obstacles in her life and refuses to give up. Even in the darkest moments of our time together she always kept going, finding solace in the support she gets from her friends at Khaneh Khorshid and from her mother – a former drug addict herself. Still, both continue to face many challenges, financially and otherwise. I wish them well.