Monday, June 18, 2007

Listen to Her Voice: Rona Kenan "Ness"

The miraculous power of inner strength...

Rona Kenan "Ness"

dir. by Adam Bizanski

According to the Jewish Talmud, women have an intellectual power called "binah" - which translates literally as "between." This implies the faculty for differentiating truth amongst seemingly identical things, or finding the deeper meaning in complicated situations. A common Jewish morning prayer explains things in a succinct metaphor: "You have given the rooster binah to distinguish between night and day."

The video actually opens with cawing crows in the shadows, but our abused protagonist - like the rooster - is able to see the coming morning despite the onslaught of darkness. In addition to the sounds of ominous birds, the room is colored with dull and dreary tones, and the cycle of oppression seems endless. Yet she endures the parade of power-hungry men and ignores the foreshadowed death - making her own path out of that hell.

The men who walk in and out of the stifling room appear to have the same face, but they represent the collective blind abuse of women on the part of a patriarchal society. Before the first one even appears, the young woman is already tensely seated - hands in lap and feet closed together. It hasn't just been her husband or her father who has held her down, but a lifetime of abuse which has now developed into an intense fear and distrust of men. They all treat her with the same arrogance, so in her memory they fold into one evil persona.

The hope comes from her repeated attempts to stand up. No matter how many hats accumulate near the door she continues to resist. It's this small action which overtime builds into the self-confidence that allows her to eventually walk out. Once outside the crows scatter away and she escapes death - not just because she knew of the rising sun outside, but more importantly she understood the power within herself.

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