Nooshin Farhid, Shallow Water, Deep Skin, 2012. Sound, 32:12 (segment)
The film narrates the life of the the political activist and entomologist Shahin Nawai, a feminist activist in the immediate aftermath of the Iranian revolution of 1979, after which she was forced to leave the country and live in exile; she worked as entomologist at the Museum of Natural History in Berlin. In its Nabokovian structure, the film correlates two seemingly different paradigms – scientific study of the insect world and human society. The form of the film connects these disparate fields of activity via the imaginary. What emerges is a set of fragmented narratives that intersect, opening up new perspectives. This film is a collage, where narrative strains emerge in realignments of image, sound, and word. Accented voiceover read by actors oscillates between voice and word, the poetic and the factual, the personal and the metaphysical. Nonetheless, form is not a primary concern — portrayal of the human condition is.