Shirin Neshat, is an Iranian born artist/filmmaker living in New York. She has held numerous solo exhibitions at galleries and museums internationally, includingt: The National Museum of Contemporary Arts in Athens, Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam; the Serpentine Gallery, in London; and Hamburger Bahnhof, in Berlin. Shirin has received prizes, including the Golden Lion Award at 48th Venice Biennale in 1999, and the Lillian Gish Prize in 2006. Neshat's first feature length film "Women Without Men" received the Silver Lion Award, ‘Best Director’ in the 66th Venice International Film Festival in 2009. She seeks to, according an article in Time, "untangle the ideology of Islam through her art." Her current cinematic work continues to express the poetic, philosophical, and metaphorical as well as complex levels of intellectual abstraction.
What is the film Women Without Men about? It’s a story that takes place in 1953 in Tehran, Iran, about four women who each suffer from some sort of dilemma and they each flee their situation to look for an idea of ‘change’ and ‘freedom’. As they leave the city, their lives converge in a mysterious orchard in the countryside and they begin to live together. While following the women, we also follow the country of Iran as it too goes through social crisis and like the women fights for an idea of ‘change’ and ‘democracy.’
Greatest inspirations or influences? My greates inspirations have been; filmmakers such as Andres Tarkovsky, Ingmar Bergman; and poets such as Forough Farokhzad, Ahmad Shamloo from Iran etc.
Challenges of what you do? I keep changing mediums, I have moved rather quickly from still photography to video art and now to filmmaking. Each time I embrace a change it’s thrilling but terribly challenging as I have to learn an entirely new language and always face the chance of ‘failure’.
Other film directors whos work you love? I admire Abbas Kiarostami, from Iran, Roy Anderson from Sweden, Wong Kar Wei from Hong Kong, Lars Von Trier from Denmark and many more.
What would be a dream project for you? My next project, is a book that I have optioned and it’s called “The Palace of Dreams”, my dream is to make this re-adaptation.
Anything else youd like to share with our audience? We need to support alternative films, art, any artistic form that challenges mainstream!!
"Women Without Men" will open in New York at Quad Cinema on May 14th. The weekend premier is very exciting but also very critical to the film's success in the box office, which will determine the film's longevity in cinemas.
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