A stimulating series of screenings of independent Iranian films will take place at The Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater (REDCAT). The series, titled, "a woman is worth a thousand questions: Alternative Media from Iran", aims at deconstructing and recontextualizing women's complex relationship with Islam in Iranian culture and society. Running the gamut from experimental film to video and performance art, from animation for documentary, the featured projects draw special attention to the ways in which women — and women's bodies— are posited both within Islam and at its border, with the codes of sexual propriety, veiling, and separation functioning as signifiers of a condition fraught with contradiction and hope.
Artists will include Samira Eskandarfar, Haleh Anvari, Pooya Razi, Jinoos Taghizadeh, Nikoo Tarkhani, Fand Nassrin Nasser. Films will be followed by extended Q & A sessions between film/video-makers and the audience. Filmmakers will also visit CalArts allowing its multinational student body to interact with the art
The screenings on Monday, October 27 are devoted to experimental work, starts with photographer Haleh Anvari's Power of a Cliche (2009) that deconstructs the conflicting ideologies defining the image of the chador-wearing woman; multi-media artist Jinoos Taghizadeh looks for traces of the feminist poet Forough Farrokhzad in the streets of Tehran through her Forough Performance (Ejraye Forough, 2008) and humorously unfolds her ambivalent relationship to the city and to the image of her own body in Fatness & Fatness 100 (Chaghi & Chaghi 100, 2009). In The Noise (2013) painter Pooya Razi offsets animation with documentary audio recording to explore the line between individual privacy and public "noise". Samira Eskandarfar's witty, poignant and visually compelling vignettes— Rugs and Men (Farshha va Mardha, 2006), Breathing Under Water (Nafas Keshidan Zire Aab, 2010), I'm Not Here (Man Inja Nisatam, 2011) and I Am Here (Man Inja Hastam, 2012) —deconstruct what it means to be within/without one's own body and its representation. Nassrin Nasser's Raining Ashes (Khakestar Mibarad, 2011) is a symbolic illustration of an illusory relationship between a female prisoner in solitary confinement and a male activisy. Nikoo Tarkhani's body art video performances — Childless Woman (Zan e bi Farzand, 2013) and The Scarlet Letter (Daghe Nang, 2012) — opens ways of representing female subjectivity and the difficulty of saying "I" in a patriarchal culture. Filmmaker Haleh Anvari will join as special guest for an extended Q & A session, schedule permitting.
The second evening of screenings on Tuesday, October 28 will feature two documentaries. In Rough Cut (2007), Firouzeh Khorosvani tells the true stories of what happened to the faces, breasts and curves of mannequins in Tehran's clothing shop windows. Samira Eskandarfar's Inside a Room (Tooye Ye Otagh, 2007) is a strangely lyrical exploration of what it means to live within a mutilated body. In his award-winning Nessa (2011), Loghman Khaledi follows, verite-style, a young Iranian Kurdish woman whose dreams of being an actress clash, sometimes violently, with patriarchal values and societal pressure.