PALM SPRINGS SHORTFEST REVIEW! There’s a riddle that goes: “A manager, a salesman, a leader, and a warrior walk into a restaurant. The hostess says, “Table for 1?” How is this possible? The answer is that one man is all of these things. It is a long-winded and trivial way of letting others know that whoever the riddle represents is a talented and strong-willed individual. It is a bit much, but in Tahmina Rafaella’s A Woman (Qadin, in its native language),this is relevant and holds true throughout the film.
Leyli (Rafaella) is a mother, caretaker, wife, daughter, cook, savior, and the list goes on and on. Her day-to-day life is hectic, and the people around her rely heavily on her ability to deliver in any and all situations. The short film depicts Leyli attempting to make her way through her problem-ridden day while helping to maintain balance and comfortability for those around her. As she navigates this rocky terrain, her struggles and sacrifices are brought to light, and audiences are welcomed into the world of the women we love.
What is a woman? This is the question that Rafaella explores throughout the movie. Most are aware that people are more than their surface layer, but it is sometimes difficult for onlookers to empathize with an individual’s everyday struggles. We often attempt to walk different shoes and absorb and understand what others go through daily; in my opinion, that is nearly impossible. With the help of her talented cast, including Vidadi Aliyev and Eldar Mammadov, Rafaella explores the difficulties specific to women.
“…her struggles and sacrifices are brought to light, and audiences are welcomed into the world of the women we love.”
The idea behind A Woman is simple but powerful. Women are slowly making their way to the forefront of many motion pictures, including Birds of Prey, Wonder Woman, and Captain Marvel. Blockbusters like these are taking the world by storm as they depict women in powerful roles, but tend to miss the mark when depicting the reality women face. Obviously, these roles are metaphors for life, but it is important to see women portrayed in situations that they will actually find themselves in. A Woman does this, and viewers are able to see, in the rawest fashion, what women do for the people around them.
Depicting such typical events like cooking dinner or picking her son up from school would not be possible if it were not for Rafaella’s pinpoint accurate depictions of these scenarios. Audiences witness the pain in Leyli’s eyes as her husband goes off to work, hoping for a promotion, and they experience the anxiety that washes over her when she finds that her son is in trouble. Rafaella’s ability to script both pivotal and ordinary moments and bring them realistically to life will bring tears to all who watch A Woman.
The ideas behind A Woman seem almost too simple to guide a film (even a short one) from beginning to end. That is because outsiders do not always appreciate everything done behind the scenes at home, particularly the things that women do in support of their families. However, every moment of A Woman is thought-provoking and intriguing. Rafaella should be proud of the attention she brings to women and the importance of their role in their families and others. A Woman brings to life the beauty of the women in our lives and provides audiences a new appreciation of what they do for us, and others every day.
A Woman screened at the 2020 Palm Springs Shortfest.
"…...I find every moment...to be thought provoking and intriguing."