Dena Ryane’s “Ishtar Speaks” reminds us of Shakespeare’s famous quote about a dream within a dream in Midsummer Night’s Dream. Ishtar is a Babylonian Goddess who the protagonist of the story has evoked. The story takes viewers on an unknown journey where everything seems unexpected. In a dreamy ambiance, the plot progresses bit by bit. The quest for knowing what’s next is prevalent throughout the movie. The girl’s seductive voice excites you like a siren of the mermaids. You feel intoxicating while as if under a spell while you keep exploring the deep voice of the girl. The critics have commented that the movie is a perfect blend of sound and image.
As a debut filmmaker Dena Ryane has focused on the aesthetic qualities of the movie. She says, “I always wanted to work on the philosophical level of the human mind. Ishtar Speaks is a continuous search for one’s own self. This movie wants to trigger the point in the viewers’ mind where they think, “Is this real life, or am I living a dream?” Just like my protagonist asks herself, “Am I here in the old man’s dream, or is he in mine?” I wanted my movie to haunt viewers continuously so that they keep repeating “incognito ergo sum.” The movie has touched many souls and achieved several awards. Among them Best Women’s Film (Main Category), Best Production Designing, Scenema is one of the highlighting ones. The film has crowned itself with the Rome Prisma Independent film award as well. The critics have rewarded the movie with intellectual reviews.
The movie has been written, directed, and produced by Dena Ryane. She is a film enthusiast and one of the first Iranian-American filmmakers. Many have commented that she has been bearing the flags of Abbas Kiarostami and Samira Makhmalbaf. Delving deeper into viewers’ psychology is one of the primary elements of Iranian films. Dena has kept that intact. Kiarostami’s influence is vividly seen in Dena. She has commented that Asgar Farhadi has always been a significant influence for her. She is a big fan of Christopher Nolan. The concept of a dream within a dream interests her a great deal. She also says that she enjoys watching Nolan’s movie as it gives her the freedom to unfurl the story independently.
The images are intricately cultivated in this movie. A fluorescent yellowish tint of the images helps in creating a dreamy ambiance. The seashore at the beginning of the film hints at something vast and unexplored. A husky voice in the background complements the exotic feeling of a naked woman’s body and a virgin sea beach. The movie goes in a slow rhythm and suddenly changes its mode. This sudden change is the driving force of the film.
Ishtar Speaks will enchant you if you really have a zeal to explore human psychology. If you love untying the knots of human minds, this is a must-watch for you.