Friday, December 23, 2011

Holiday Movie Marathon #1

Winter is right around the corner. But meanwhile, Chicago is holding back harsh temperatures and weather! I am enjoying my last winter in Chicago!

Due to an error with my airline reservation I am unexpectedly spending the holiday weekend in Chicago. My plans were to be in Atlanta, GA from December 21 to 30. I know that I would never make a reservation for March 21 to 30 but Orbitz was not convinced and attributed the error to me. Whether that is the case or not I have learned from this experience to carefully review ones itinerary upon receipt from the travel agency. I usually do that right before I hit the "submit" to "charge" my credit card. So I don't know what happened. Because I distinctly remember doing so!

So in the spirit of creativity (and survival) I am working to put together an itinerary on short notice for this weekend. The weekend will include a movie marathon of videos with menus and reviews featured on my blog. In addition, I expect to attend 7am worship at Trinity United Church of Christ, where the Rev. Otis Moss III is pastor and then 10 am worship at First Unitarian Church of Chicago. Worship will be followed by a potluck dinner at First Unitarian Church. My housing cooperative, Covenantal Community Housing Cooperative will feature its usual 6pm Sunday potluck. So I have a few things in place!

I enjoyed Unwanted Woman, my first movie, while feasting on glazed fresh carrots, stir fried rice, salad and Moscoto, a sweet white wine. Unwanted Woman, directed by a female, Tahmineh Milani, focuses on the struggles of women in modern day Iran. Sima, mother and school teacher, is the main character. She is married to Ahmad who is unfaithful and apparently immature as demonstrated in his blatantly flirtatious behavior with Saba. Keep in mind this is modern day Iran and Ahmad's behavior while tolerated as the norm in other countries is policed in Iran. Males are not to be seen cavorting with women in public that are not their legal wives. Sima accompanies Ahmad on a trip when she discovers the trip is a rouse so that he and his lady friend, Saba can rendezvous. Sima's endures blatant emotional abuse such as infidelity and hints at physical abuse.  We also are witness to scenes when Ahmad physically strikes Sima. An example of the emotional abuse is his promise to Saba to leave Sima on the side of the road so that he and Saba can proceed on their trip together. However, Sima experiences a break through, although Ahmad perceives it as a break down, when she acts totally out of character and takes great risk to help a stranger avoid police capture. The stranger, is wanted for the murder of his wife and cousin which he commits believing his wife was unfaithful. In a conversation with Rahim we gain glimpses of Sima's compassion and motivations for helping Rahim. Sima drives him out of the city to avoid arrest and later convinces her husband to take a detour to pick Rahim up. One would not expect Sima to be so sympathetic to a batterer and murderer. However, she admires his ability to do what she is unable to do, that is, eliminate his unfaithful wife and lover. By the conclusion of the story we see that everyone is a victim of a male dominated society. Ahmad, Sima's unfaithful husband was forced to marry at twenty and bemoans the loss of his freedom and the adult responsibilities of becoming a husband and father. Sima is drowning in an unhappy marriage and living with a husband that does not love her or respect her. At one point he refers to her as a "worthless cow" although she is both beautiful,  intelligent and a devoted  wife and mother. Saba, the girlfriend, was sold by her husband to a pimp for five years to support his opium habit and subsequently, has attempted suicide ten times. And finally, Rahim, the jealous husband who commits homicide because of his obsessive belief that his wife is cheating on him with his cousin discovers that he may have acted in haste and commits suicide in the end.

At times the movie's subtitles  were difficult to read because they were in white and they sometimes flashed across the screen too fast. However, the movie's acting and plot are solid and provide an excellent portrayal of some hard hitting social issues like patriarchy, male violence, gender roles, double standards, and arranged marriages. I recommend the film and using a 1 to 5 scale with 5 being excellent I give it a 4 and a half.

Stay tuned for the next movie review in my weekend movie marathon!

Holiday Blessings! Rev. Qiyamah

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