Saturday, April 24, 2010

Women Without Men

In 2002 I was fortunate to view, on two occasions, the photographs and video works of Iranian exile Shirin Neshat. I was stunned by her artistry and the mystery and clarity of her images. I have thought about these works many times the past eight years, and stayed alert to her activities.

Last week her first feature film, Women Without Men, screened at the Walker Art Center, followed by a discussion with Ms. Neshat, as well as a brief Q & A with the audience. I generally head for the exits when the Q & A starts, ever since enduring an insufferably precious affair with John Cage and pianist Margaret Leng Tan many years ago. But I was again totally enthralled with and shaken by Neshat's vision, so I stayed for the post-film chat.

Vanity compels me to point out that my comments to Ms. Neshat, edited down to a few seconds on the use of sound and silence in the film, can be viewed at the 40:45 mark in the video of this event [click on the title atop this entry to link to the video]. Ms. Neshat, and her artistic collaborator Shoja Azari, offered excellent observations about diaspora, magical realism and the existential sense of home and homeless.

Note: The two images here are stills from the film, depicting the character Zarin in two radically different spiritual conditions.


joda said...

Nice post Jesse, glad to learn of this feature film. I saw an exhibit of her short films in 2002, very compelling work. I hope it gets screened in Canada.

jesse said...

Neshat did say it will eventually see a DVD release, Joda; of course seeing it in the 35mm format was amazing.

jesse said...

A quick check of the WWM web site says it screened at the Toronto Film Fest in 2009.

joda said...

Well I'll be damned... that fest gets so wacky I tend to avoid all mention of it while it's going on. I'll keep my ear/eyes open for the future prospects.