“A Few Years Later” An Iranian Working Woman By Pradip Biswas
The 21st Fribourg International Film Festival (FIFF) offers a fascinating experience. It is a festival that introduces a variety of genres by the upcoming filmmakers of the world. Iran was represented by Niki Karimi, the daring woman filmmaker whose film A Few Years Later (Chand Rooz Ba’D) was highly praised, and revealed the cutting edge of women in Iranian society. The film strengthens the belief that women filmmakers have the courage to tackle nearly forbidden subjects like enclosed women in Iran.
Niki Karimi, a consummate actress, plays the protagonist in the film. The narrative follows the silent journey of a working woman in the frenetic city like Teheran where the concept of consumerism has taken the upper hand. It is the tale of Shazard, a successful graphic artist caught in the web of conflict due to the subversive attitude of her seniors in the office, who understand little about graphic designs and graphic art. It is the hectic spell of office work and the surroundings that makes the protagonist depressed as she can hardly manage her own life, space and freedom. All the time she is pestered by phone calls, various crazy demands of the consumer’s society and the passive attitude of her neighbors.
The reality of A Few Years Later can be our own reality. In 78 minutes, the film made in color reveals the dark side of urban life. The protagonist also faces a threat from her ex-husband who has married another woman but wants to become reconciled with Shazard but the refuses. Her life is no commodity to be consumed by male patriarchy in Iran interpreting women as objects and possessions.Through her eloquent silent protest of eloquence the meaning of the film emerges.
On the other side, we find Sharzad fulfilling her obligation to her parents. Her father is gravely ill, but she could not perform her moral duty to attend to him. Such is the cruel nature of corporate jobs: they devour persons and their freedom. Here Niki Karimi as the director employs some unique framing creating constant movement. You have no time to catch your breath.
Niki Karimi: “We have little space of our own. It is the demand from the office boss, the dominating husband, the ego-centric neighbors and our restless life. In a society like ours women are still unable to voice freely their concerns. My film is just a protest against this syndrome.”
Niki Karimi, who made a documentary, To Have or Not to Have, took five years to make her first feature. “We suffer from lack of funds and the system’s apathy towards women. No doubt, our women are gradually trying to find their own space in the society by their merit and labor. As a filmmaker, I want to dedicate my film to those women struggling hard to find their own space and domestic freedom.”
When asked about her new film Niki Karimi replied: “My next film will be about immigrants, a great problem in Iran. The focus will be on the inhuman treatment of thousands of immigrants who live a subhuman life.”