Canada Now: Window Horses

Canada Now: Window Horses
Window Horses: The Poetic Epiphany of Rosie Ming
Directed by Ann Marie Fleming
Starring Sandra Oh, Nancy Kwan, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Camyar Chaichian, Omid Abtahi, Navid Negahban, Ellen Page and Don McKellar
Screening as part of Canada Now Film Festival

by Joanna Orland

Window Horses: The Poetic Epiphany of Rosie Ming is a poetic film about poetry, paternity and Persia.

Rosie is a young Canadian poet who is invited to perform at a Poetry Festival in Shiraz, Iran. However, her heart belongs to Paris as it’s all she ever seems to write about. Once in Iran, she learns of her Persian father who abandoned her as a child. She’s forced to confront not only her past, but also the nature of poetry itself and what it means to her.

On the journey to finding her own poetic voice, Rosie’s eyes are opened to the rich Iranian history and culture she’s immersed in. Newfound friends and relatives tell her stories of her father which are fully embedded into the political turmoil of the country. She learns about her family history and how to express herself with her newfound words.

As far as a film about poetry goes, this film is as poetic as it gets; verse and metaphors are in abundance. Rosie has always identified as being Chinese from her mother’s lineage, having been raised by her Chinese grandparents. Finding herself in Iran, she meets a prominent Chinese poet at the Poetry Festival, who gives her his Chinese poem for her to translate and perform at the festival. Unable to obtain a Chinese to English dictionary, she finds Chinese to Farsi and Farsi to English. She must reconcile with her Farsi heritage if she’s to find her own voice.

Using a rather abstract visual style, the animation of Window Horses is a work of art. A little hard to digest is Rosie’s visualization as a nearly featureless white-faced stick figure, while everyone else in the film looks more human – including her relatives. I’m sure this is to further another aspect of the cultural metaphor, yet acts more as a distraction and detracts somewhat from feeling a connection to the character.

Window Horses is much more of an art piece rather than a traditional film. Its visual and poetic beauty, transcend the medium.


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