Women Without Men

Film, Drama
2 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

2 out of 5 stars
Too often during artist Shirin Neshat’s first film for cinema – co-directed by fellow artist Shoja Azari, also born in Iran and resident in America – I felt I was looking at and admiring it rather than engaging with it on the level of emotions or ideas. Neshat draws on Shahrnush Parsipur’s novel of the same name to tell the experience of four women – prostitute Zarin (Orsi Toth), middle-aged bourgeoise Fakhri (Arita Shahrzad), single 30 year old Munis (Shabnam Tolouei, pictured) and her friend Faezeh (Pegah Ferydoni) – during the 1953, CIA-backed coup which overthrew the democratic government and returned the Shah to power. It’s a beautiful package, not least because of astounding photography by Martin Gschlecht (‘Lourdes’), but it feels like a triumph of art direction and lighting over its attempt to reflect the experience of Iranian women during the time it’s set and, by implication, today. The mixture of realism and poetry, the literary and the visual, is awkward and the only character whose experience resonates is Zarin, mainly because of Toth’s possessed performance.



Release details

Release date:
Friday June 11 2010
99 mins

Cast and crew

Shirin Neshat
Shirin Neshat
Pegah Ferydoni
Shabnam Toloui
Orsi Tóth
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