“Window Horses” animates a mixed-race poet’s discoveries in art and identity

“Window Horses” screencap.

Ann Marie Fleming’s blushing hand-drawn feature “Window Horses: The Poetic Persian Epiphany of Rosie Ming” finds the titular character, a 20-something Canadian fast food clerk, on an unexpected trip to her absent father’s homeland of Iran to perform at a poetry festival in Shiraz. Rosie (voiced by Sandra Oh, also an executive producer) would rather make her debut in Paris, home of her idols Baudelaire and Rimbaud. Her self-published collection, “My Eye Full, Poems by a Person Who Has Never Been to France,” is an ode to the land that she romanticizes as the pinnacle of culture.

Rosie is disconnected from her Eastern roots—her father left the family to return to Iran when she was young, and her Chinese mother died shortly after. Raised by her protective maternal grandparents, she has barely left her hometown and inherited an affinity for Western art from her fellow Francophile grandmother.

Unlike her more detailed counterparts, Rosie is rendered as little more than a stick figure with a pink triangle for a skirt (soon to be covered up by a traditional Iranian chador) and two slants for eyes, a go-to avatar Fleming uses elsewhere (she too is Canadian and partly of Chinese descent). Embodied as a reductive representation of both women and Asian people, Rosie’s infinitely more dynamic character challenges the caricature imposed upon her; at the same time, the sparing presentation suggests a person not yet fully developed, simple but unfinished.

Though her naivete introduces her to a series of embarrassments and cultural gaffes, Rosie’s humility and limited exposure to non-Western culture work in her favor, to an extent. She is more open and therefore adaptable than another visiting festival performer, a perpetually-scoffing German literary mansplainer who collapses when his non-Western audience finds his consumer-critical poem distasteful for its depiction of women dining with dogs.

But though she’s no more informed of the real story behind her father’s disappearance than she is of his homeland, Rosie’s open-mindedness does not lend itself so much to entertaining the possibility that her father was not simply a neglectful man who abandoned his family. To Rosie, he is a spectre easier to bitterly reject than to understand; reconstructing that part of her personal narrative is a bigger hurdle than expanding her aesthetic vocabulary.

Rosie quickly learns that Shiraz is as much a poetry capital as Paris, if not more so—Shiraz is the capital of the Fars Province, the origin of the Farsi language and the birthplace of the legendary poets Hafez and Saadi. The people of Shiraz carry the words of their city’s poets as if they were part of their everyday lexicon. Poetry is alive here, and while Rosie learns about the lives and work of the powerful men who authored it, she also becomes aware of the underrecognized influence of women along the way.

Beyond a coming-of-age tale, “Window Horses” serves as an intro to Iranian history and poetry, with about a dozen guest animators taking turns to illustrate different dives into the country’s past and literary figures, as well as pieces performed by the festival’s featured writers. The shifts in the film’s visual language are distinct yet cohesive, maintaining a kind of fluorescent buzz beneath a collage of rich textures and borrowing jewel-like details from Persian miniature paintings (which were influenced by Chinese art, so an apt example of cultural intersectionality here). One highlight: Guest artist Bahram Javaheri animates the mythic biography of the poet Hafez (who, as Rosie notes while others too quickly overlook, fucked over his wife in the process of becoming a great big important poetry man by keeping a mistress his muse) as a quasi-3D wall carving in motion with embellishments culled from illuminated manuscripts—the result is decadent.

By bringing on a range of artists to reinterpret poetry and history, Fleming mirrors the exchanges her own heroine undertakes when she attempts to translate a poem given to her by a fellow performer, a Chinese expat who enlightens Rosie with pieces of history from her mother’s country. He titles his poem with a flexible Mandarin word meaning “horse, mother . . . a bridge from one world to another,” piquing the interest of his horse-fixated, motherless, wanderlusting new friend. Unable to read Mandarin, Rosie visits a bookstore in Shiraz seeking a Mandarin-English dictionary, but leaves instead with Mandarin-Farsi and English-Farsi dictionaries.

What begins as a meticulous process of translating the poet’s words from Chinese to Farsi and then from Farsi to English becomes a creative pursuit of Rosie’s own, revealing the spaces between cultural non-parallels where bravery like hers is particularly useful. She does not merely take artistic liberties; she fills the gaps understood to divide civilizations with her own identity, where those histories and the words that shape them overlap, and letting it take new form.

“Window Horses: The Poetic Persian Epiphany of Rosie Ming,” directed by Ann Marie Fleming, screens at the Creative Alliance on Jan. 11.

65 Comments
  1. 710334 86618Must tow line this caravan together with van trailer home your entire family fast get exposed towards the issues along with reversing create tight placement. awnings 893050

  2. 628083 849716Hello, you used to write great, but the last few posts have been kinda boringK I miss your super writings. Past several posts are just a bit out of track! come on! 189436

  3. 939422 410525Aw, this became an incredibly good post. In thought I would like to devote writing such as this moreover – taking time and actual effort to make a very very good article but exactly what do I say I procrastinate alot and by no indicates locate a method to get something completed. 730008

  4. Play exclusive slots at the top casino. Receive your huge welcome package tonight. Have a great time playing super slots. Join now to Get generous bonuses

  5. Hi there, I found your web site by way of Google even as looking for a comparable matter, your website came up, it appears good. I have bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.

  6. wonderful post, very informative. I wonder why the other experts of this sector do not notice this. You must continue your writing. I’m sure, you have a great readers’ base already!

  7. 981923 44229Youre so cool! I dont suppose Ive learn something like this before. So nice to search out any person with some distinctive thoughts on this topic. realy thank you for starting this up. this web internet site is one thing thats needed on the net, someone with a bit of originality. valuable job for bringing something new towards the internet! 842318

  8. 549232 112484Hello my family member! I wish to say that this post is amazing, great written and come with approximately all vital infos. I would like to see extra posts like this . 623429

  9. 414557 231668I want to admit that that is 1 amazing insight. It surely gives a company the opportunity to have in around the ground floor and actually take part in generating a thing particular and tailored to their needs. 756731

  10. 448276 35909Spot on with this write-up, I need to say i believe this superb site needs a lot far more consideration. Ill probably be once again to learn a terrific deal more, many thanks that details. 818349

  11. Thanks for your marvelous posting! I definitely enjoyed reading it,
    you could be a great author. I will remember to bookmark your blog and definitely will come back
    in the future. I want to encourage you to continue your great writing, have a nice day!

  12. I’ve only skimmed the rules but I don’t think it’s super detailed war game, more like fast
    and loose “what happens to galactic politics so we can have more adventures”

  13. I just want to tell you that I am very new to blogging and absolutely loved you’re blog. Very likely I’m going to bookmark your blog . You definitely have excellent articles and reviews. Cheers for sharing with us your website.

  14. The when I just read a blog, I hope so it doesnt disappoint me as much as that one. I am talking about, It was my method to read, but I actually thought youd have something fascinating to express. All I hear is often a bunch of whining about something that you could fix in the event you werent too busy looking for attention.

  15. I just could not leave your web site before suggesting that I really loved the standard info an individual provide for your visitors? Is gonna be again ceaselessly to check out new posts.

  16. Excellent blog here! Also your web site loads up fast! What host are you using? Can I get your affiliate link to your host? I wish my site loaded up as quickly as yours lol

  17. Excellent post. I used to be checking constantly this blog and I am impressed! Extremely helpful info particularly the last part 🙂 I care for such info much. I used to be seeking this particular info for a long time. Thank you and best of luck.

  18. I like the valuable information you supply for your articles. I’ll bookmark your weblog and take a look at once more right here frequently. I’m relatively certain I’ll be told many new stuff right here! Good luck for the next!

  19. I do accept as true with all the concepts you have introduced in your post. They’re really convincing and can definitely work. Nonetheless, the posts are too short for starters. May just you please prolong them a little from subsequent time? Thank you for the post.

  20. Good – I should certainly pronounce, impressed with your web site. I had no trouble navigating through all tabs and related information ended up being truly simple to do to access. I recently found what I hoped for before you know it at all. Quite unusual. Is likely to appreciate it for those who add forums or something, site theme . a tones way for your client to communicate. Nice task.

  21. I have been exploring for a little for any high quality articles or weblog posts on this kind of area . Exploring in Yahoo I at last stumbled upon this website. Reading this information So i am happy to show that I have a very excellent uncanny feeling I found out exactly what I needed. I most unquestionably will make sure to do not put out of your mind this web site and give it a look on a relentless basis.

  22. Hey! This post couldn’t be written any better! Reading this post reminds me of my old room mate! He always kept talking about this. I will forward this article to him. Pretty sure he will have a good read. Thanks for sharing!

  23. I simply could not depart your website prior to suggesting that I really enjoyed the standard information an individual provide on your guests? Is going to be back steadily to check up on new posts.

  24. The subsequent time I learn a weblog, I hope that it doesnt disappoint me as much as this one. I imply, I know it was my choice to read, however I truly thought youd have one thing fascinating to say. All I hear is a bunch of whining about something that you would fix should you werent too busy searching for attention.

  25. I’ve been surfing on-line greater than three hours as of late, but I by no means found any interesting article like yours. ItЎ¦s pretty worth enough for me. In my opinion, if all website owners and bloggers made good content as you probably did, the internet can be much more useful than ever before.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.