Women without Men

by msabaye

I finally got a chance to watch "Women without Men", the first feature film by Shirin Neshat. Visually, the film is stunning. However, content and script are no match for the film's remarkable visual effect.

The film follows the lives of four women, a traditional girl, a prostitute, a middle-aged unhappily married, and one with ambitions of political activism in the backdrop of 1953 Coup. That may be the first problem with the film: there is hardly any connection (except for Munis's interest in politics) between the main story of the women and the 'backdrop'. At times, it is not clear which is which or whether they are taken from the same film. I admire and applaud Neshat's initiative in bringing up the subject that has influenced contemporary Iran to a great extent, but her film fails to connect the two: the story of the other three women could be happening any other time; the political unrest and oppression do not affect most of them. Why put it there?

The actresses enter and exit the film as symbols; they never step out of the symbolic world. No character building; hardly any motivation for what they do. Acting is often constrained and disconnected. Death is everywhere, but once again, spread about with hardly any connection to anything else.

The film won the Silver Lion Award for best director in Venice Film Festival in 2009. If you are in for an amazing array of spectacular shots, the film is worth watching a few times. Unfortunately, I cannot say that about content/character/plot which lag far behind the amazing visuals.


Recently by msabayeCommentsDate
Freedom to be Poor, Ill, Forsaken
Oct 14, 2012
Newfoundland: Leave your Camera behind
Sep 29, 2012
Test (Result)
Sep 20, 2012
more from msabaye

German cinematographer is excellent

by ComraidsConcubine on

 Otherwise I agree, there is no film, but not surprising really (see her previous films...) 

Esfand Aashena

I think the women are connected.

by Esfand Aashena on

That party is supposed to be the crossroads of history at the time and these women represent the cross section of society at that time.  The liberated, the educated, the poverty, the religious and the dictator who end up in the same party living the present time and a quick look of what is about to come.

The people in that party ended up being the Iranian society for the next 26 years.

I also thought the movie was very good and gave it 3.75 stars.  I liked the movie because it represented a micro look into Iran at the time not the macro version of US, UK, Mossadegh and military.  The movie is about "life" in those days. 

Everything is sacred