Sweden/Iran | 2007 | 76 minutes | Color | DVD | Persian | Subtitled | Order No. 09939


From Nahid Persson, the filmmaker of the award-winning Prostitution Behind the Veil, comes an intimate portrait of a polygamist family in a rural Iranian village. Persson reveals the intricacies of the relationships between the four wives, their husband, their astoundingly free-spoken mother-in-law and their numerous children. Sometimes humorous and often heartbreaking, this film follows the daily lives of the wives whose situation has turned them into both bitter rivals and co-conspirators against their abusive husband.

Persson’s camera unobtrusively and beautifully captures the range of the family’s interactions – from peaceful, pastoral scenes of a family picnic, to the temporary chaos caused by a broken faucet in the kitchen, to a furtive, whispered conversation between two wives about the latest beating. The women’s work – making bread, weaving carpets, milking and herding the sheep – provide the background to their frank conversations. Avoiding sensationalism and sentimentality, this film provides unique insights into the practice of polygamy and its effect on the women involved.


"Challenge[s] both Western assumptions about Islamic women's oppression and the patriarchal social structures that shape their daily lives. The four women manage their relationships with each other with a keen sense of dignity as well as of the interdependence of their interests and those of their children."

Patricia White Chair, Film & Media Studies, Swarthmore College

Highly Recommended for classes in social and gender relations. Anyone interested in women’s rights and family life around the world will find this documentary thought provoking … Often funny, other times sorrowful, but at all times heartfelt, Four Wives – One Husband is beautifully shot in vivid cinematography.” – EMRO

Malcom L. Rigsby Educational Media Reviews Online


  • Honorable Mention, Society for Visual Anthropology Film Festival
  • Silverdocs Documentary Festival
  • Denver International Film Festival
  • Los Angeles Film Festival
  • Tiburon International Film Festival
  • Locarno Int’l Film Festival, Critics' Week
  • Recontres International Documentary Film Festival


Nahid Persson

Born in Iran, Nahid Persson immigrated to Sweden in the 1980's. After studying microbiology, she founded a local radio station. In 1993, Persson began her filmmaking career and enrolled at Film- och TV Skolan. Her film, PROSTITUTION BEHIND THE VEIL, won first prize at the Marseille Festival International du Documentaire. Persson's other credits include MY MOTHER: A PERSIAN PRINCESS, THE END OF EXILE, THE LAST DAYS OF LIFE, and THE QUEEN AND I. (7/12)


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