Maya

A BANYAK FILMS PRODUCTION

Daily life at one of Iran's biggest zoos is interrupted when Mohsen, the head keeper, takes Maya, a 4 year old Bengal tiger, to perform in a fiction film in the north of the country.  Mohsen transports Maya to an old sanctuary near the film shoot on the edge of the Caspian Sea which was once home to the now extinct caspian tiger. Between shooting dates, Mohsen allows her to run around in the almost deserted landscape. With the freedom to roam around without bars for the first time in her life, the animal’s suppressed instincts rise to the surface. 

The zoo, like the cinema, is a space designed with exhibition in mind and from its inception cinema and video has exploited this space from the Lumiere brothers film ‘Lion’ shot in 1895 to the first Youtube video ‘Me at the Zoo’ in 2005. Maya sits within a continuation of cinema’s fascination with zoos where the act of looking is turned on its head as the animals look back at us.

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