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Mitra (Performance)

A filmic Opera by Jorge León

Mitra is a hybrid project situated somewhere between opera, documentary cinema and installation.
In 60 minutes and on two screens, it presents the struggle of real individuals living in Iran and France, who are caught up in the psychiatric machinery. A woman and a few friends, fight together and from afar, through the unique power of words exchanged via email, to escape obliteration. Their truth, however, only finds its true expression when it’s turned into fiction and put to music.

Director’s statement

The story could be summarised like this :

Mitra Kadivar is an Iranian psychiatrist and psychoanalyst who studied in France. When she went back to Tehran, she set up a school of psychoanalysis and planned to turn her private home into a drop-in centre for drug addicts. Her neighbours weren’t having it and pressed charges against her, claiming that she was mad : her behaviour is strange and she claims to be constantly disturbed by the noise of an imaginary child running around upstairs.

Confined to a mental hospital and diagnosed as psychotic, Mitra ends up undergoing a treatment of medical injections. Alerted by a series of emails exchanged with her, Jacques-Alain Miller tries, from France, to come to her aid. When she is confined to a mental hospital and the Iranian psychiatrists prevent her from going on the Internet, her students continue the correspondence with Miller : they give him news of Mitra and tell him about their efforts to clear her of the charges made against her. The digital exchanges are transformed into the voices of a choir. A petition to free Mitra is launched from France. She is finally set free.

The emails exchanged will form the libretto. What interests me most when moving towards the cine-opera documentary, is to go beyond the present of the event, to give it a universal scope, until you are deploying it in the timelessness of the myth.
In order to give a lyrical voice to Mitra Kadivar, we chose Claron McFadden, a magnificent world-renowned singer, familiar not just from the operatic repertoire but also contemporary music and open to new vocal experiences.

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