New Internationalist

Women Without Men

June 2010

Directed and co-written by Shirin Neshat

It’s Tehran 1953, and in the turmoil that leads to the CIA’s coup against Mossadegh, four women have very different lives. Zarin, a sex worker, is traumatized by her job. Munis, politically radicalized by the news she hears on the radio, resists her religious brother’s attempts to seclude her until he can marry her off. Her friend Faezeh wants only to marry Munis’s brother. Well-connected Fakhri, walking out of her marriage to an army general, settles in a large house in gardens and woodland outside Tehran.

Neshat’s adaptation of the magic realist novel by Shahrnush Parsipur (who plays the brothel madam) is often visually breathtaking, and shows, realistically and symbolically, how the political struggle, which involves only Munis, unravels all the women’s prospects, and the survival of their garden sanctuary.

ML

This column was published in the June 2010 issue of New Internationalist. To read more, buy this issue or subscribe.

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