Opening 4 Aug 2011
“The punishment for an unmarried adulterer or adulteress shall be 100 lashes.” (§83 penal code of the Islamic Republic of Iran) Sudabeh Mortezai’s interesting film exposes the loophole in this Shia law, which is the temporary or lust marriage (Ehe auf Zeit in German), from which Shia mosques earn considerable money – are they in the business of prostitution?
Im Bazar der Geschlechter reveals this ancient Shia practice from the three different perspectives: the mullah, the woman, and the man. Although the mullahs had no problem talking to her about sex, director Mortezai had trouble finding women in lust marriages to come forward, as they are often seen as prostitutes or women with loose morals. A woman can only have one contract at a time and must wait two months (two menstrual cycles) before changing to another, in order to guard for pregnancies. However, the temporary marriage is a compromise solution for women to have sex after a divorce, as divorcés are considered a danger in Shia thought, and the mullahs are shown to be encouraging them into lust marriages for which fees are paid.
It is much different for men in Iran’s patriarchal society: they can have up to four wives plus as many lust marriages as they want. Often it is a good deal, e..g, if one wife gets sick, the others can care for her. Men do not even need to tell their marriage partners. If the problem is not enough money for a real marriage, lust marriage is a solution – just a one-time payment to the mullah for a predetermined time, from 1 day to 99 ye (Nancy Tilitz)