Shirin Neshat's 'Women Without Men'



Yesterday, I watched Shirin Neshat's 'Women Without Men'. This film is so deep and moving that it would be absolutely superficial to indulge in any kind of 'interpretation' of it (but it is also absolutely impossible to resist). As I was watching it, so many thoughts and 'interpretations' of various sorts came to my mind that an entire thesis can be written about it. However, at the same time I was wondering whether I will ever be able to say anything about it.

A usual review will be like this: This film depicts the spiritual crisis of Iranian society caught up between tradition and modernity. And then a nauseating rant about colonialism, religious fundamentalism and feminism will follow. I think it would be an insult to the creative genius of Shirin Neshat to indulge in this kind of 'analysis'. For me, the best way to respond to this film is by loosening the reins of our own creative selves, to be unacademic for a little while and to indulge in the guilty pleasure of
poetizing. Here is a slice of what I felt after watching this film:

Inverted Desires

Desire-
a stream without direction
a fight against itself
a substance signifying lack
a spectral absence
a self consuming itself
a ruined passion
a call from nowhere
a drive towards death
a body possessed by death
an inverted femininity

Listen to me:
Open Sky
Moon
and clouds,
You bear witness
to my fall
Will you tell my story?
A cursed story

I dreamed
of an orchard
lush green
but
a worm
inhabits it
constantly consuming
my soul

No refuge
can be found
on the face of
this cursed earth
but the sky too
has refused
to accept me
I am in earth
still trying to breathe
ready to interrupt
the temporal flow

Beware my friend
My curse
will violate you
you will live
in an orchard
but its lush greenery
will forever escape
your cursed vision

What Thing was it
unsettled me
made me unsettling
spectral
a curse
a cursed dream
what Thing caused this cursed dream:

Bir-ha


P.S. My thanks go to A. for suggesting and providing a copy of this rare film.

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