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VENICE 2009 Competition / Germany-Austria-Fr

Iran seen through women’s eyes in Women Without Men


Photographer and video artist Shirin Neshat is known in particular for her portraits of women covered in Persian calligraphy. Her directorial debut, Women Without Men [+see also:
film profile
, in competition at Venice, is adapted from the eponymous novel by contemporary Iranian writer Shahrnush Parsipur. The film was produced by Germany’s Essential Filmproduktion, Austria’s Coop 99, and France’s Parisienne de Production.

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With sepia-toned colours, a classic directorial style and a few touches of digital "magic", Neshat recounts the tragic days of 1953, when the US/UK-orchestrated coup overthrew Mossadegh’s democratic government and reinstated the Shah to power.

The film centres on four "women without men", who represent the difficult conditions that many women still experience today within Islamic culture. The paths of these four very different protagonists cross and converge in a country house where one of them has taken refuge after separating from her army officer husband. A young prostitute on the run, a rebellious fiancée and a rape victim are the other protagonists negotiating life in a country in turmoil, as lran still is today.

(Translated from Italian)

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