Osian’s Film Festival with a gang of friends is rarely serious business. The only movie I watched this year was mostly to humor the already purchased ticket. My Sweet Shirin, an Iranian Film, directed by Abbas Kiarostami, was an experimental approach to capture the essence of women’s dreams and desires; especially those of women in conservative societies.
The Film starts with the camera’s focus on a set of female audience in a cinema theatre, viewing the romantic tragedy of Khoshrow and Shirin. My Sweet Shirin is a movie combining the visuals of these women in the theatre along with the audio track of the romantic tragedy. The audience gropes ahead into the narration by what they hear and what they see on the faces of the women with insincerely exaggerated expressions.
The narration starts with Shirin’s (an innocent young royal woman of the mountains) encounter with a sculpture of angelic beauty yet demonic perfection. Its beauty instantly captures her heart and makes her fall in love, losing her peace of mind. The sculpture becomes a source of evil temptation which in turn leads to her lifelong misery. Her love of Khoshrow triggers cumbersome journeys, the longing for love and warmth of a lover’s arms, doubts and anxieties and unforeseen dangers.
Shirin falls unwittingly a victim to the power plays of a masculine world as khoshrow marries Roman princess for political alliance yet contrives and plots through out to keep possible suitors and lovers away from Shirin. Ultimately, Khoshrow and Shirin are united years later but they again fall prey to the power of the Throne as Khoshrow’s son causes the death of his father.
Each twist in the story and each dialogue causes an unreal stir on the faces of the women we see. Frankly, I have not encountered a more active and restless set of audience in any of my movie-watching, theatre-going experiences.
Somehow the movie reminded me of a pursuit rather close to home. Delhi 6! The incessant attempts to rub in the ‘metaphor-of-the-monkey’ seemed similar to the 90 minute struggle to sensationalize the pathos of conservative society women with dreams of love.
The style was new and the try creative yet a movie with slack editing and a slow paced fantasy for a story failed to cut across to us.