Tanaz Eshaghian (born 8 September 1974 in Iran) is an Iranian-American documentary filmmaker.
Eshaghian, who left Iran with her mother at age 6, grew up in New York, went to Trinity School and graduated from Brown University in 1996 with a BA in Semiotics.
For her début feature-length film "Be Like Others," a provocative look at men in Iran choosing to undergo sex change surgery, Eshaghian returned to Iran for the first time in 25 years. "Be Like Others", a BBC 2, France 5, ITVS production, premiered at the 2008 Sundance film festival and went on to win the Teddy special jury prize at the Berlin Film Festival as well as the ELSE Siegessaule Reader's Choice Award and was nominated for and Emmy award. It has been invited to over 30 film festivals worldwide and had its US television premiere on HBO in June 2009. Currently she finished a documentary film inside a women's prison in Kabul Afghanistan focusing on "moral crimes" for HBO.
Her first film "I Call Myself Persian," completed in 2002, told the story of how Iranians living in the U.S. were affected by prejudice and xenophobia after 9/11. In "Love Iranian-American Style," completed in 2006, she filmed her traditional Iranian family, both in New York and Los Angeles, documenting their obsession with marrying her off and her own cultural ambivalence.
Eshaghian's films have also screened at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and at the Walter Reade cinema at Lincoln Center.
She currently lives between Paris and New York.
Love Iranian-American Style 
Love Iranian-American Style tells the story of Tanaz Eshaghian, a New Yorker from an Iranian Jewish community. She is forced to choose between American and Iranian values when she turns 25, and her family decides to marry her off. She documents her dates with various men and interviews her family and previous boyfriends to try to get a deeper understanding of the cultural differences and their implications on her life.
The documentary reveals that the Iranian Jewish culture of her family is in conflict with the culture Tanaz was exposed to in America. Her family wants her to marry young—at 17—and not be concerned with finding love. Interviews with her family members reveal that they have gotten married as young as 14; they value a lasting relationship with someone who is well off and able to support the family over a romantic relationship. Interviews with Tanaz’s suitors explain that they expect Tanaz to be reserved and humble. A typical wife is described as someone who is young, works to make money, works at home as a housekeeper, raises the children, and serves the husband. Tanaz’s mother declares “the men give you nothing.”
Tanaz finds this very difficult to accept because she was raised in the American culture, which values dating, intimacy, and experimentation before marriage. She realizes that she can’t marry an Iranian man because she cannot meet the cultural expectations and tries to convince her family to accept her marrying an American. Eventually, her family gives in.
Anthropological Analysis 
The Iranian Jewish tradition views marriage much more as a group alliance than as an individual affair like in Western culture. The Iranian family doesn’t perceive bounds that create privacy for couples; instead, the family expects to know all about what is happening in a relationship. Tanaz finds this uncomfortable because she distinguishes between her family of orientation, the one that raised her, and her family of procreation, the family she will create through marriage, and she wants that family to be independent following American culture.
Tanaz was raised in an extended family household—one that includes several generations of relatives. In American culture, families are neolocal—they establish new homes when they marry. Although Tanaz’s family wants her to engage in endogamy at first and remain within their cultural community, Tanaz convinces them she has to marry someone of American culture (exogamy).
The traditions of working for one’s husband and marrying young are examples of gender roles in Iranian Jewish culture. The documentary describes a wife’s role as the caretaker of the husband, essentially submissive. This role provides a potential insight into the gender stereotypes of their culture, which may view men as dominant, superior, or more capable in certain respects. This is an example of a domestic-public dichotomy that devalues women’s importance. Furthermore, the disparity between the expectations for women as opposed to for men demonstrates gender stratification—varying respect for the individual based on gender—that supports a male-dominated hierarchy.
- Tanaz Eshaghian at the Internet Movie Database
- Love Iranian-American Style New York Times review
- I Call Myself Persian: Iranians in America New York Times review
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