SHIRIN NESHAT: ILLUSIONS & MIRRORS
This year’s trailer marks a notable anniversary at the Viennale: it is the 20th “little film” realized by an important filmmaker commissioned by the festival since 1995.
In 2013 the choice has fallen on Iranian-American artist Shirin Neshat, world-renowned for her installations and photos. Neshat’s work ILLUSIONS & MIRRORS, circa two minutes long, was created as part of a larger project, a half-feature-length experimental film, which she will be shooting in the coming weeks with the support of Dior. Filmed in her characteristic, radical, mainly black-and-white style, ILLUSIONS & MIRRORS traces the somnambulistic hallucinations of a young woman, played by Natalie Portman. It was shot by cameraman Darius Khondji, most recently responsible for the cinematography of Michael Haneke’s AMOUR. ILLUSIONS & MIRRORS is about the futile attempt of chasing a shadow that wanders through the dunes of an empty beach. When it finally comes to an encounter in a deserted house, the young woman experiences a disturbing surprise.
Shirin Neshat: “This film pays tribute to black/white, silent films made by surrealist filmmakers such as Man Ray, Jean Cocteau, Luis Buñuel and later the wonderful experimental filmmaker Maya Deren. Thematically it is a big departure for me as it moves away from all my past socio-political subjects regarding Iran and Islam and enters a very timeless and universal story.”
A small film by a great artist, and the first Viennale Trailer to feature a veritable star. Or in Shirin Neshat’s words, “For a moment, I met Hollywood.”
ILLUSIONS & MIRRORS
Shirin Neshat, USA/A 2013
Camera: Darius Khondji
Editor: Nariman Hamed
Music & Sound: Johnny Azari
With: Natalie Portman