Synopsis by Josh Ralske
In July 2001, Saeed Hanaei, a builder from a working class neighborhood in the Iranian holy city of Mashhad, was arrested for strangling 16 young women, almost all of whom had criminal records for prostitution. Maziar Bahari's documentary, And Along Came a Spider, produced by HBO for the Cinemax Reel Life series, tells the story of these murders. Bahari interviewed Hanaei while he was awaiting trial, and the killer cavalierly describes his acts as the work of God. Bahari finds support for Hanaei's crimes on the streets of the city, where many residents question the man's unlawful methods, but applaud his choice of victim. Hanaei's wife and young son claim to be proud of his deeds. Hanaei's defense is predicated on the Islamic concept that some corrupt individuals are a "waste of blood." Bahari also interviews the father of one victim, who mournfully describes how his daughter was forced into prostitution by her husband (from a marriage that the father had arranged), and the young daughters of another victim, who defend their mother's humanity and express their desire for vengeance. And Along Came a Spider had its U.S. premiere at the 2003 Tribeca Film Festival.
misogyny, serial-killer, Iran, Islam, psychopath, religion, women's-issues