Zinat: One Special Day
- Film & History: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Film and Television Studies
- Center for the Study of Film and History
- Volume 33, Number 1, 2003
- pp. 69-70
- View Citation
- Additional Information
Film Reviews | Regular Feature There is one thing above all else that makes The Two Towers and The Chamber ofSecrets remarkable, and that is their use ofcomputer animation. Simply put, neverbefore has fantasy come so alive onscreen. As enjoyable as Ray Harryhausen's special effects may have been, they have got nothing on what takes place in these pictures. Indeed, the capabilities of computer animation are now raising fantasy (and science fiction) to an altogether new level. There are virtually no limits to what can be put on screen. Perhaps nowhere is this technology more astounding than in the creation of two similar characters, Dobby the house-elf (voiced by Toby Jones) in The Chamber of Secrets and Gollum in The Two Towers. Both are remarkably life-like figures. Dobby has as much charm as most of the actors on screen. And Gollum, animated over on-set actor Andy Serkis, is even more astounding, the attention to detail - textures, facial expressions, environmental effects, etcetera - making the technology that brought Jar Jar Binks to life look a little antiquated. Perhaps these films will not herald a new age of fantasy film. Other than the next installments in the Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter series, there is not much in the genre on the immediate horizon, butboth ofthese franchises, despite their relatively minor flaws, are fine examples of how well fantasy can be done on screen. In addition, they serve as important signposts for where cinema stands technologically. We've reached apoint where itbecomes very difficult to imagine that the fantastic can be made to look any more real than it does onscreen, in these films. Marc Oxoby University of Nevada, Reno firstname.lastname@example.org Zinat: One Special Day Since the mid 1990s contemporary Iranian film has received international acclaim for its employment of innovative cinematic techniques as well as its tackling oftough social issues. The social issue most compelling to U.S. audiences of Iranian cinema seems to be the status ofwomen in Iran. By placing gender in the context of other timely issues such as democratic reform Zinat: One SpecialDay (54 minutes, Farsi withEnglish subtitles)—arecent documentary by the well-regarded Iranian director Ebrahim Mokhtari—addresses the topic in particularly fulfilling ways. One can see what makes the documentary successful by contrasting it to an earlier feature film—a film by the same director, focusing on the same indvidual (ZinatDaryaie), and sharing avery similarname (Zinat 1994, 88 minutes, Farsi withEnglish subtitles dir. Mokhtari). Zinat Daryaie is a healthcare worker on the southern Iranian island of Qeshm in the Straits of Hormuz. A product of the local, traditional society of the island, she had been married for several years andbore several childrenbefore deciding to become a healthcare worker, at the age of 19. As she explains in voice narration accompanying the opening scenes of the film, few believed that an uneducated, married woman who wore a borgheh— the distinctive face veil of the region (consisting of two black strips, one covering the eyebrows andthe otherthe nose andmouth, connected by a thin strip running down the bridge of the nose)— could take up medicine. In fact, so that she could better perform her job, she became the first woman in her village to go without the borgheh in public. The familial and societal resistance that she overcame in her quest to help her community provided the inspiration for Mokhtari's feature film, Zinat. The documentary picks up thirteen years later when Zinat, who has been working successfully at several healthcare clinics, runs in the first local elections to be held since the 1979 Iranian Revolution. Mokhtari and his crew filmed Zinat: One Special Day on election day. They were barred from filming outside because authorities construed it as unfair publicity for the candidate. Thus the majority ofthe documentary takes place inside Zinat's house. Essentially, we watch Zinat, along with her husband, Ahmadi, who is also running for one ofthe five local council seats, wait for the election results to come in. Yet, through a series of conversations —between Zinat and her husband, Zinat and the film crew, Zinat and visitors—the documentary manages to address a variety of pertinent...