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The Great Sadness of Zohara (1983)
This movie is the first real approach of Nina Menkes to show detachment and alienation.
The Movie has many layers of emotions, the sound, the images, the environment, the people and Tinka Menkes. The Book of Job guides us, connects us, try's to explain what is happening in the images. We always watch, we are always the voyeur and we never participate, we never have a voice. The Camera is always passive but interested and fascinated. The Camera is impersonating us, we don't have a choice, we can just watch what is going on. The City's and Landscapes, Morocco, a constant traveling, by train, by ship, next scene, next place. The people of the places, in the city, they are always included, the are the contrast, the force, the rule and the border around Zohara (Tinka Menkes).
Zohara, with short hairs, colored blue, always changing, sometimes forced into the world, wearing the traditional clothes. She gets hurt, is escaping and running away, free and open in the desert, in the river. Hiding in the shadow, hiding from the sun and the people.
It is hard to judge or rate this Movie. It is such a personal Work of Nina and her Sister Tinka, the documentary aspect only allows us to accept the movie as "real".
Even so, the movie is much more then a documentary, the voices, the alienation and detachment of Zohara, the experimental and emotional approach - in the hole, this movie is transporting what Nina Menkes want's to tell us.
So listen to the silent girls. -- Occam, Berlin, Oct 2008