Internationally acclaimed visual artist Shirin Neshat is known for her stark, potent photo and video portraits of how women in Islam experience the world. Given a canvas as vast as a feature film, she expands her vision while simultaneously bringing it home to the history that shaped her.
Adapting Shahrnush Parsipur's fabulist novella, Neshat returns to the Tehran of the early fifties, a volatile time that was a crucible for today's Islamic republic despite being a world away from current conflicts. Roving from the gilded rooms of the rich to the streets where a prostitute plies her trade, Women Without Men weaves together the stories of five women: Mahdokht, struggling with the shameful loss of her virginity; Munis, a middle-aged woman still under the control of her brother; the prostitute Zarin; the virgin Faezeh; and Farrokhlaqa, a matron in high society whose husband is as stifling as the airless rooms that confine her. Each woman seeks freedom in surprising and sometimes shocking ways.