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Shirin Neshat on Tofifest

Shirin Neshat — winner of the Silver Lion award for best direction in Venice, and one of the most prominent modern art representatives, is coming to Toruń’s Tofifest. Neshat will attend the Polish premiere of her film — Women Without Men — the one that won her the award at Venice Film Festival. It is the first visit of this Iranian-American artist to a Polish film festival.

Galleries both in the USA, and in Europe compete for works of this remarkable, acclaimed all over the world artist. Living in New York, Neshat is one of the first artists who so openly brings into daylight the situation of women in Muslim countries. She does it in a truly skilful way, avoiding aggression, asking tricky questions with unprecedented precision. Mainly — about the essence of Muslim religion, and women’s submission to men. That is also the theme of “Women Without Men” (“Zanan-e Bedun-e Mardan”), awarded at the prestigious Venice Film Festival. The film will have its Polish premiere at Tofifest during ON AIR competition. In a mystical-poetic way, the film tackles the most contemporary issues of Iranian women. It’s an exquisite example of art cinema, and cinema about art.

As the director describes her film: “It was work filled with love, lasting six years (…) This film tells the world the story of my country”. The motion picture depicts the events of 1953 — the revolution inspired by the Great Britain and the USA. Iran’s Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi overturned the democratic government of Mohammed Mossadek, and introduced dictatorship. Western countries inspired the revolution in order to secure their rights for oil extraction. The film is a German-French-British coproduction.

“Women Without Men”, presenting a style of magical realism, is a bold mixture of realism and visionary foresight. Neshat showed how Iranian filmmaking could like like if it was left uncensored. — wrote in Gazeta Wyborcza Tadeusz Sobolewski.

Neshat works are an example of rare attempts to examine the essence of Islam, and to translate it into the universal language of art. She started her career rather late — when she was 30 — after a visit to her home country after a 20-year absence, which left her shocked. She is now considered one of the most renowned female contemporary artists. Her very intimate, autobiographical video works were presented at the most prestigious international exhibitions, such as: Venice Biennale, Whitney Biennale, Sydney Biennale, Lyon Biennale, and Kwangu Biennale.

Neshat will be the second special guest at the 2010 Toruń’s Tofifest, after Julia Jentsch, who will receive Tofifest special award on 26 July.

Neshat will arrive in Torun on 29 July 2010. The premiere of her film will take place in Baj Pomorski Theatre, which will be followed by an open meeting and a conference with the artist.

Interview coordination:
Marcel Wozniak
Tofifest Press Office

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