23rd Entertainment Division Excellence Award

CELLMate

Video work

Solmaz ETEMAD [Iran]

Outline

Rana, a girl around the age of 10, spends her day in a courtyard playing with a little bird in a cage, hanging out laundry, or reading books. She hears laughing voices of other children from the outside. A white-haired man comes home and orders Rana to bring him a towel and drink, and she obeys. Toward the end of the story, the man speaks kindly to Rana, who is crouched in a corner of a room. He then takes her hand and, together, they go into the house. Through the window, the viewers see on the wall the photos of their wedding. The film, which is filled with bright colors, ends with a text stating that “Annually, in the world, 12 million girls marry before they reach the age of 18, which is a marriage almost every two minutes.” This work, CELLMate, presents an image of a girl whose childhood is taken away to let the world know that there are girls and women who continue to have ambitions and fight back even in the worst conditions.

Reason

The girl is very pretty. She is fragile, yet precious and beautiful. In the video, the world seen through her eyes is also radiant, full of hope, and alluring. The flowers floating in the water. The sunlight falling on the laundry. We are enthralled by the production, in which everything appears shimmering and dazzling. However, when moving forward in this world, one can be hit in the face by unexpected reality. Here, the fate of a girl not even 15 is not beautiful at all. Rather, a huge shock has been looming and will make the viewer hate the radiant beginning. All the art in the film, including the paintings on the wall, starts to feel menacing and we learn of the reality that the world is full of situations like the one this girl is in. Those of us who were watching while conveniently immersed in the film’s beauty have perhaps been living without knowing of truths that exist in this society. I could deeply sense the desire of the artist, who wants as many people as possible to know of this reality. I felt that because the story’s production was one in which everything was so beautifully and meticulously calculated, it made the thoughts and messages of the fragile girl come alive all the more. Messages that we truly wish to communicate perhaps reach people more successfully when they are enveloped in a beautiful mist. (MORIMOTO Chie)