Monday, August 27, 2012

Shirin Neshat: Women Without Men, Take II

Shirin Neshat's Women Without Men (2009) reminds me in a good way of the work of several other favorite filmmakers, including Luis Buñuel, Costa-Gavras, Deepa Mehta and Gillo Pontecorvo. Intentionally or not, it seems as if Women Without Men is paying homage to, having a dialogue with and picking up from where these others left off in past films, while adding additional concerns.  

 This scene could be captioned Men Without Women. Here, uniformed men with guns chase men in white shirts with knives and a flag. "What immortal hand or eye / Could frame thy fearful symmetry?" It's a scene very reminscent of something from a Costa-Gavras or Pontecorvo film, with detailed emphasis on composition and contrast. Comparative examples: La battaglia di Algeri / The Battle of Algiers (1966), Z (1969), Queimada / Burn! (1969) and Missing (1982).      

Here, Faezeh (Pegah Ferydoni) walks alone down a deserted road, a scene that's repeated in variations during the course of the movie. Anyone familiar with Luis Buñuel's 1972 Academy Award-winning surrealist masterpiece Le charme discret de la bourgeoisie / The Discrete Charm of the Bourgeoisie would recognize very similar imagery in that film. But there is a key difference, and the clue is in the titles: Shirin Neshat's Women Without Men emphasizes women and gender roles while Buñuel's is emphasizing socio-economic class. Also, Buñuel employs humor and satire whereas Neshat employs forlorn beauty and stark tragedy. The sensual feel of Neshat's film is more akin to Deepa Mehta's Fire (1996) Earth (1998) and Water (2005).  

Today's Rune: Initiation.           

1 comment:

Luma Rosa said...

Have not watched the movie, but I know the work of Shirin Neshat in the field of photography and video installation. A good indication, Erik!
Good week!! Beijus,