A filmic Opera by Jorge León
A document found on the internet : an email exchange between a man and a woman. Both are psychoanalysts. She - Mitra Kadivar - writes to him from Teheran. He - Jacques-Alain Miller (JAM) - answers her from France.
She’s going to be taken to a psychiatric hospital against her will and asks for his help.
The film proposes a lyric interpretation of the striking electronic correspondence.
Through the email exchanges we learn that Mitra had planned to transform her private home into a centre to cure drug addicts and that her neighbours were totally against this initiative. They lodge a complaint arguing she is mad : they claim she pretends she’s tormented by the noises of a child running constantly in the apartment above hers. According to the neighbours this child doesn’t exist, she hears voices, she’s mad.
Day after day, from Paris, JAM manoeuvres in order to come to terms with what seems to be turning into a tragedy. He launches an online petition : « SOS Mitra ». Within a few hours thousands of people from all over the world sign it. Mitra Kadivar is freed.
The email exchanges between Iran and France become an opera libretto. The singers grasp the story through the voices of the different protagonists. Mitra becomes the tragic and contemporary heroine of a cinematographic opera. Between here and there, between fantasy, acting out and enactment.
When director Jorge Léon discovered this e-mail exchange, he realised that the subject could be turned into a contemporary drama – into a film.
He opted for an operatic form, choosing to respond to the forced muteness of internment and the silence of an e-mail correspondence with vocalisation, through the elevated expressiveness of singing and music.
Yet Mitra isn’t the mere video recording of an opera upon completion ; on the contrary, it structures itself as the site of its own making. An opera in pieces, music in progress, singers rehearsing, composers at work. A full immersion into the creation of songs, the delicacy and tactfulness in each note. However, there is more to it : in this exact and generous production, all the places visited during the shooting are included, most notably the psychiatric hospital in Montperrin near Aix-en- Provence, with some of its patients and intruiging fragments of their thoughts and daily occupations.
Therefore, Jorge León gives its full scope to the production of sounds, as well as to the tense, inaudible practice of listening. Listening is described here as caught in the intertwining and sharing of things that are hard to say. As if listening was – at the other end of the imprisonment that is madness – the beginning of music : the beginning of justice.
FID Marseille - Marseille Espérance Prize (2018),
appeared on the following festivals :
FID Marseille 2018, FIFF Namur 2018, DOK Leipzig 2018, Brussels Arts Filmfestival 2018, Festival International du Film sur l’Art 2019 (Canada), Documenta Madrid