October 28, 2008

Mira Nair Film Freaks Out the UN

Eight high profile film directors from Wim Wenders to Gus Van Sant to Jane Campion recently premiered their collaboration 8 in which each "director takes a different angle to show how poverty, climate change, lack of access to education and basic health facilities are affecting the world's needy but also those living in the rich West."

But Mira Nair's film about a Muslim woman who leaves her family for a married man caused the sponsoring UN organization UNDP to pull its support after producers refused to censor her portion on the film.

Nair reacting to the controversy

Nair, in Rome to promote "8," defended her choice, saying it was about a woman's right to express herself.

"It's a storm in a teacup frankly. It's not what the film deserved," she said.

"My film is inspired by a true story and was written by the person who lived that story. Freedom does not come neatly packaged. It comes with pain," she said.

"I also wanted to make the film because of the reaction in the West to any woman who lives under a hijab or a burqa. They are usually identified as women who have no rights and are submissive ... which is completely untrue."
Top film-makers focus on poverty, despite U.N. row (Reuters)
photo: Martin Schoeller