Saturday, June 30, 2007

AliReza Darvish: Three Animations

The first animation of Alireza Darvish, three minutes in length, titled Life Is Short, reminded me of my childhood thirst for whatever was written. It was about a very simple matter of fact issue: creation. In less than two minutes, he blended the biblical story of Adam and Eve and their offspring with the Darwinian evolutionary version of creation. Oddly enough neither Adam nor Eve had a problem with this union, nor did God. Those of us with religious feelings who saw the film were particularly delighted at the blend. However Alireza himself was not content with the merging of the two. He believed that the creation in either sense or even together is incomplete. Adam and Eve, biblical or Darwinian, go through a cultural evolution. It is this third stage which highlights his animation. Adam and Eve sail through the river and walk out from the Garden of Eden with the most delightful gift for their future offspring, their books.

In the Foot step of Water, the children of Adam and Eve are freed from their two conflicting heritages and they define themselves only with their third essence: culture. As they pass through life, they create, they form, they record, and they liberate . They pass through fire, fly over the sky, swim through rivers day and night, war and peace; All the way, they live by their pen.  Their pen is taken away from them, is broken, is thrown out, their texts are crumbled and discarded, but they do not give up. This is a tale of perseverance, exertion and force, it is striving and succeeding, it is victory and freedom. It is the story of all the little drops which make the ocean, all the little words which make the sea of letters. A magnificent sea of knowledge is painted masterfully by the hands of this talented artist into a six minute animation. Darvish paints our lives, our generation, probably the last generation, which appreciates the written text, and books as the building blocks of life. The children of Adam and Eve have “seen the garden and have picked the apples from that untouchable branch.” They pick up their pen, gather the words, and blend them together; the words evolve into fish which carry the letters of the discarded written words and print them on the water of the ocean, to be carried all over. This film won the Jury Prize in Milan.

Alireza Darvish’s third animation, What If Spring Does Not Come,

is another tale of struggles in life, of the struggle for liberation and freedom. It is a woman’s tale of struggle and perseverance. It is a tale of life, presumably a real life, probably a sweet memoir of Alireza’s mother. Its subject is a woman for whom the very same sea in which men could swim turns into hot desert sand when she approaches it innocently with a flower of hope. She bumps into desert sand where she hopes to swim in water. But she does not give up, but goes with the hope, and seeks and finds fulfillment in culture, in books, in the written word, where there is salvation and freedom, and where she finds the way to the water, over which she sails on a book.
In all his paintings and animations, Alireza enshrines the book as no one else has done before. His passion for the keeping this dying and fading artifact of human life is worth at least three cheers, three bravos, and millions of thanks.
This animation very timely, as the campaign for a million signatures has terrified the Islamic Republic of Iran and caused it to curb women’s activity in the harshest degree. It was shown at the Brooklyn Film Festival as one of the two Iranian movies participants. Like his previous animations and his paintings, it is deeply occupied with the subject of culture and life, with women as the carrier of culture. This eight minute animation was presented in one of the most popular times of the festival and was received very well by the audience, even though the genre of symbolism has never been a popular form of artistic expression in the United States. Alireza’s animation particularly stands out for its technical mastery.


Nazy said...

A priceless and honest description of a priceless artist's work! I came and read an learned. Well done my dear Mina. You make me proud. Is that Forough's Another Birth (Tavalodi Digar)? It is a poem she wrote for the love of her life, Ebrahim Golestan, and it continues to reverbrate with love and hope and longing to this day.

Carmen said...

Dearest Mina,

I have read your text about Alireza'a animation some
days ago and today, finally, we could sit toghether to
talk about it. Alireza thanks you deeply (me too) for
your words and critiques. Wow.... it is amazing that
you can understand the films sooooooooooooo well and
to write about that in such a clear and beautiful way.
Thanks, really.

Interesting, Mina... but you wrote the text exactly
the same way that Mitra and Mani were born. It was
full moon.

Dearest Mina, thanks for being like you are and for
being such an example for us.

Lots of love,

Alireza and Carmen