Loosely based on Shahrnush Parsipur’s magic-realist novel, Shirin Neshat’s debut feature uses Iran’s 1953 CIA-backed coup d’etat as a backdrop for examining the anatomy of the country’s patriarchal society.
Over the course of several days, Women Without Men follows four women of varying social class and age as their lives converge in a haunting metaphorical orchard. All are at points of transition: Munis, the political activist; Zarin, the young prostitute; Fakhri, the unhappily married middle-aged upper cruster; and Faezeh, the innocent. Together, they struggle to find themselves amid the political and social turmoil of the time.
Gender relations and Islam are recurring themes in the Neshat’s photography and video art. Due to the controversial nature of her work, the artist — who came to the United States to attend college at the University of California just prior to the 1979 Islamic Revolution — has been banned from her homeland since 1996.
Visit the film’s official website, become a fan on Facebook, watch a discussion with Shirin Neshat and her collaborator Shoja Azari, catch her talking about her starring role in the new Ohne Titel campaign, check out her photographs, see her split-screen video installation Turbulent (1999), buy the film Women Without Men.
Click through for a gallery of images and videos from the film.