Women Without Men is the debut feature of Shirin Neshat, a brave and talented Iranian artist who is daring to talk about a topic many stay away from: women in a conservative Islamic society. Her film is a beautiful, poetic adaptation of a 1990 novel by Shahrnush Parsipur, a work which is banned in Iran.
The film endeavours to tell the story of the upheaval that came about in Iran during the period around the US/British-instigated coup, and does this by focusing on the lives of four women from different classes and backgrounds.
Women Without Men doesn’t try to offer concrete solutions to the problems that are raised within the film, nor does it put politics before character. It is an involving film – perhaps the most interesting feminist picture of the 2000s – and reminds the viewer of the challenging and emotional power of cinema.
Women Without Men (2009), directed by Shirin Neshat, is released on DVD in the UK by Artificial Eye, Certificate 15.