Κυριακή, 20 Νοεμβρίου 2011

WOMEN WITHOUT MEN - ZARIN



Zarin

Iranian writer/director Shirin Neshat
helms the 20-minute short Zarin.
The title character is a guilt-ridden prostitute
who attempts to escape from the confines
of her world and find redemption

Shirin Neshat is getting personal.

No doubt the best politically aware art always is.
No doubt that direct line to experience—a woman's or one's own—has always distinguished her videos.
Something, however, has changed. I do not mean the emotions. Neshat has portrayed them all before, as a collective experience. Rage, oppression, desire, and grief—they have appeared as the very fabric of a nation or the stuff of its rituals. Only now, in Zarin, they mark one woman's coming of age.


In Zarin, a young woman hides from the crowds and the rituals, vulnerable and in fear.The change corresponds to a video artist more and more at home with cinematic convention. She has become a storyteller—and a dangerously polished one at that. Neshat is still exploring video's space between the movie theater and the art gallery. It can seduce her into settling for more obvious choices. Yet, to her credit, she finds it a broad and ambiguous space indeed, at least for nowIn her latest exhibition, Shirin Neshat continues her cinematic translation of Iranian writer Shahrnoush Parsipour’s Women Without Men. Her latest filmic installation lingers on a prostitute, named Zarin, in an Iranian brothel, a place saturated with color and languid characters that frame the protagonist’s psychological breakdown as she begins to see skin grown over the eyes and mouths of all the men she encounters. The metaphor is heavy-handed, but the elegance of Neshat’s visuals and storytelling make it enticing. The ten-minute film, Zarin (2005), is part of an unfinished full-length film based on Parsipour’s book about women’s lives after the 1953 CIA coup in Iran. Beginning in 2003, and on the invitation of the Sundance Institute’s Writing Workshop Lab, Neshat has been laboring to realize her first major narrative project.
The film was shot in Morocco, which seems to have offered the texture of a Muslim society without the distracting details of Iran. The result is a type of Middle Eastern Cuba, as her locale emits a timelessness that bridges centuries and, to a certain degree, cultures. Women in Neshat’s film seem particularly vulnerable, cloaked in saturated colors and set against sparse walls or blank street corridors. Zarin is portrayed as a self-hating Iranian Kate Moss with a deep-seated shame about her body. She is separated from those around her visually by her light skin and in the later scenes, her blue chador. Her fear is palpable, as is her indignity, though the source of both, we are left to assume, is her sex work.


video

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