White Balloon

Daily Journal of Mahaan, an Iranian-American student residing in USA.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Film: Women without men

Women without men directed by Shirin Neshat is a reflection of the maturity of the artwork from Iranians in exile. This excellent film is based on a novel by Shahrnoush Parsi-pour and pictures an important slice of the Iranians contemporary history. It is the story of four women on the eve of the US-sponsored coupe against the nationalist government of Doctor Mosadeq in Iran. There is a back and fourth movement of these women between reality and imagination and Neshat paints the screen with generous coloring and shades to boost our imagination power. The cinematography and editing of the film is way above the average Iranian cinema and generally the crew and cast have done a good job, picturing Iran in 1953 in a foreign country (it was filmed in Morocco).

Unlike most Iranian films, the music is subtle and does not take over the narrative, yet still is very effective for the interchange between reality and surreality. In many points Neshat relies on Persian folk to convene her message. This is an important part which is very difficult to translate to the non-Persian audience who might not have the context about those songs and their lyrics.

While the emphasis of the film on the historical events is stronger than the book, it very effective in bridging between the struggle of the females and the nation for self-rule and freedom. Neshat closes the film by reminding us the century-long struggle from the constitution revolution of the 1905 through the green movement of the 2009.
This work is certainly a moment of triumph for Iranian artists in exile to establish themselves as independent voices which might have an strong positive impact on the soci-political development of Iran.

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