Women, given enough time, get to a point where they realize they are complete even without men. On Friday night I went to see the LA premier of Women without Men by Shireen Neshat. The treat was that she was there with us, and at the end of the film took some questions from the audience.
A diminutive and soft spoken woman, Shireen Neshat is incredibly articulate and unmistakably passionate about her beliefs, her art and her cause. Her art resonates as globally well as it does because it is a representation of what she firmly believes and has a burning desire to share with the world. Her linguistic skills coupled with her soft voice, make her an ideal ambassador for her own message. Her presence illuminated the movie for an eager audience.
The movie chronicles the life of 4 women. Two of them occupy a worldly life that proceeds credulously anchored in the realistic ways of the world. The two other women live a life that is part spiritual, benefiting from some cinematography and artistic expression. The tale begins with each of them tied somehow to the existence of one or more men. One longs for a man, one is sick of them, another is violated by them and yet another is betrayed by them. In some cases the lines overlap, but each’s life is tied to men in one way or another – at the beginning.
By the end, each comes to a point where they are complete without the man. Perhaps they can, metaphorically, even look back and realize that the men are not as impressive as they seemed and are better left on the sidelines.
Once the curtains were drawn Neshat graciously stayed for a Q and A. Everyone, but one exception, got up to applaud the work and complement the creator, and proceed to ask relevant questions about the movie and its replete metaphoric content. Shireen’s answers were enlightening. For example one person asked what each of the 4 female characters in the movie represented. She confided that each of them represented her – at least a facet of her mind or soul – even though they were all very different and it was their stark differences that propelled the movie.
One woman stood up as the voice of dissent and surprised the audience by boldly declaring that she had been bored through the movie. OK, it wasn’t a fast movie, but I must say that to enjoy the film the viewer or participant must have a curious nature, a comprehension of some of the socio-political issues of our time and an intellect that is willing to engage in exploration. If you’re in the mood for a main-stream movie experience, Shireen Neshat won’t be the right pick – at least for now.
I for one, am willing to see the movie once more knowing now what Neshat’s thoughts were. I’m not a big fan of all Persian movies. But this one was replete with imagery, messagery and thought provoking content from social justice, to economic and political freedom, to the role and place of women in society as a whole, and in Muslim society in particular. If one is open to questioning long standing precepts, this movie lays out a panoply of issues.
|نسرین ستوده: زندانی روز||Dec 04|
|Saeed Malekpour: Prisoner of the day||Lawyer says death sentence suspended||Dec 03|
|Majid Tavakoli: Prisoner of the day||Iterview with mother||Dec 02|
|احسان نراقی: جامعه شناس و نویسنده ۱۳۰۵-۱۳۹۱||Dec 02|
|Nasrin Sotoudeh: Prisoner of the day||46 days on hunger strike||Dec 01|
|Nasrin Sotoudeh: Graffiti||In Barcelona||Nov 30|
|گوهر عشقی: مادر ستار بهشتی||Nov 30|
|Abdollah Momeni: Prisoner of the day||Activist denied leave and family visits for 1.5 years||Nov 30|
|محمد کلالی: یکی از حمله کنندگان به سفارت ایران در برلین||Nov 29|
|Habibollah Golparipour: Prisoner of the day||Kurdish Activist on Death Row||Nov 28|