Women Without Men (2009) Poster

Women Without Men (2009)

  • Rate: 6.3/10 total 962 votes 
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Date: 5 March 2010 (Sweden)
  • Runtime: 95 min | Germany:95 min (Venice Film Festival)
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Women Without Men (2009)

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Women Without Men 2009tt1498887.jpg poster

  • IMDb page: Women Without Men (2009)
  • Rate: 6.3/10 total 962 votes 
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Date: 5 March 2010 (Sweden)
  • Runtime: 95 min | Germany:95 min (Venice Film Festival)
  • Filming Location: Casablanca, Morocco
  • Gross: $175,995(USA)(13 June 2010)
  • Stars: Shabnam Toloui, Pegah Ferydoni and Arita Shahrzad
  • Original Music By: Ryûichi Sakamoto   
  • Sound Mix: Dolby
  • Plot Keyword: Coup D'état | Iran | Bride | Islam | Prostitute

Writing Credits By:

  • Shoja Azari (writer)
  • Steven Henry Madoff  voiceovers and additional dialogue
  • Shirin Neshat  screenplay
  • Shahrnoush Parsipour  novel

Known Trivia

    Goofs: Anachronisms: The Azan that we hear through the film is Moazzenzade Ardabili's version which was recorded in 1955 while this movie takes place in 1953.

    Plot: Against the tumultuous backdrop of Iran's 1953 CIA-backed coup d'état, the destinies of four women converge in a beautiful orchard garden, where they find independence, solace and companionship. |  »

    Story: Against the tumultuous backdrop of Iran's 1953 CIA-backed coup d'état, the destinies of four women converge in a beautiful orchard garden, where they find independence, solace and companionship.

    FullCast & Crew

    Produced By:

    • Shoja Azari known as associate producer
    • Philippe Bober known as producer
    • Jerome de Noirmont known as executive producer
    • Barbara Gladstone known as executive producer
    • Martin Gschlacht known as producer
    • Peter Hermann known as line producer
    • Barbara Häbe known as producer: Arte
    • Oleg Kokhan known as associate producer
    • Susanne Marian known as producer
    • Heinrich Mis known as producer: ORF
    • Erwin M. Schmidt known as line producer
    • Andreas Schreitmüller known as producer: Arte
    • Joerg E. Schweizer known as associate producer
    • Holger Stern known as producer: ZDF
    • Bruno Wagner known as line producer
    • Isabell Wiegand known as line producer
    • Manfred Zurhorst known as producer: ZDF

    FullCast & Crew:

    • Shabnam Toloui known as Munis
    • Pegah Ferydoni known as Faezeh
    • Arita Shahrzad known as Farrokhlagha
    • Orsolya Tóth known as Zarin
    • Mehdi Moinzadeh known as Sarhang
    • Navíd Akhavan known as Ali
    • Mina Azarian known as Zinat
    • Bijan Daneshmand known as Abbas
    • Rahi Daneshmand known as Soldier
    • Salma Daneshmand known as Guest
    • Shahrnoush Parsipour known as Madame
    • Tahmoures Tehrani known as Sadri
    • Essa Zahir known as Amir Khan

    ..

     

    Supporting Department

    Makeup Department:
    • Mina Ghoraishi-Plenker known as makeup artist
    • Heiko Schmidt known as makeup artist

    ..

     

    Company

    Production Companies:

    • Essential Filmproduktion GmbH
    • Coop99 Filmproduktion
    • Société Parisienne de Production
    • CinePostproduction (in association with)
    • Rommel Film
    • BIM Distribuzione (in association with)
    • EMC Produktion
    • Sota Cinema Group (in association with)
    • Schönheitsfarm Postproduction (in association with)
    • Manfred Bunwey Filmproduktion (in association with)
    • Agora Films
    • Sundance Feature Film Program (developed with the assistance of)
    • Österreichischer Rundfunk (ORF) (with the support of)
    • Programme MEDIA de la Communauté Européenne (developed with the assistance of)

    Other Companies:

    • Beauftragter der Bundesregierung für Angelegenheiten der Kultur und der Medien (BKM)  funding
    • Deutsche Filmförderfonds (DFFF)  funding
    • Eurimages Council of Europe  funding
    • Filmfonds Wien  funding
    • Filmförderungsanstalt (FFA)  funding
    • Filmstiftung Nordrhein-Westfalen  funding
    • Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg  funding
    • Österreichisches Filminstitut  funding

    Distributors:

    • Artificial Eye (2010) (UK) (theatrical)
    • Indiepix (2010) (USA) (theatrical) (subtitled)
    • KMBO (2011) (France) (theatrical)
    • Mongrel Media (2010) (Canada) (theatrical)
    • Mozinet (2010) (Hungary) (theatrical)
    • NFP Marketing & Distribution (2010) (Germany) (theatrical)
    • Nutopia (2009) (Greece) (theatrical)
    • Against Gravity (2010) (Poland) (all media)
    • BIM Distribuzione (2009) (Brazil) (all media)
    • BIM Distribuzione (2009) (Italy) (all media)
    • CatchPlay (2010) (Taiwan) (all media)
    • EuroVideo (2011) (Germany) (DVD)
    • Filmmuseum Distributie (2009) (Netherlands) (all media)
    • Gussi Films (2009) (Argentina) (all media)
    • Gussi Films (2009) (Brazil) (all media)
    • Gussi Films (2009) (Colombia) (all media)
    • Gussi Films (2009) (Mexico) (all media)
    • Gussi Films (2009) (Venezuela) (all media)
    • IndiePix Films (2010) (USA) (all media) (subtitled)
    • Lumière (2009) (Belgium) (all media)
    • Mongrel Media (2010) (Canada) (DVD)
    • Sota Cinema Group (2009) (Russia) (all media)
    • Sota Cinema Group (2009) (Ukraine) (all media)
    • ZDF/Arte (2009) (Germany) (TV)

    ..

     

    Other Stuff

    Special Effects:

    • CinePostproduction

    Visual Effects by:

    • Matthias Albrecht known as digital film editor
    • Markus Bäuerle known as digital lab supervisor
    • Rudolf Germann known as digital artist
    • Sebastian Göhs known as digital colourist
    • Sandor Nagy known as digital colourist
    • Sandra Neundorf known as digital post supervisor
    • Maik Strauch known as color timer
    • Niklaas Warda known as title design

    Release Date:

    • Italy 9 September 2009 (Venice Film Festival)
    • Canada 11 September 2009 (Toronto International Film Festival)
    • Austria 30 October 2009 (Vienna International Film Festival)
    • United Arab Emirates 12 December 2009 (Dubai International Film Festival)
    • USA 23 January 2010 (Sundance Film Festival)
    • Netherlands 5 February 2010 (International Film Festival Rotterdam)
    • Sweden 5 March 2010
    • Italy 12 March 2010
    • USA 30 March 2010 (New Directors/New Films)
    • Canada 2 April 2010 (Toronto)
    • USA 9 April 2010 (limited)
    • USA 16 April 2010 (RiverRun International Film Festival)
    • Greece 22 April 2010
    • Netherlands 10 June 2010
    • Germany 1 July 2010
    • Czech Republic 3 July 2010 (Karlovy Vary Film Festival)
    • Australia 1 August 2010 (Melbourne International Film Festival)
    • Poland 1 August 2010 (Two Riversides Film and Art Festival)
    • Denmark 12 August 2010
    • Belgium 1 September 2010
    • Hungary 30 September 2010
    • USA 1 October 2010 (Milwaukee Film Festival)
    • Norway 15 October 2010
    • Poland 19 November 2010
    • Spain 25 February 2011
    • France 13 April 2011

    ..

     
     

    Filmography links and data courtesy of The Internet Movie Database


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    Posted on March 30, 2012 by Harry in Movies | Tags: , .

    9 Comments

    1. oOgiandujaOo from United Kingdom
      30 Mar 2012, 1:32 pm

      This was a highly ambitious Iranian film following the lives of severalwomen in 1950s Iran. It may be of interest to American viewers in thatthe backdrop to the movie is the 1953 coup, where the CIA, in supportof an absolute monarch (the Shah), helped overthrow a democraticallyelected government. That assumes that anyone is still interested infinding out "why the world hates America", I think it's become passé toruminate on that now. But if you flick CNN on and see the latestwranglings with Iran, well here is where the story started, it's a goodidea not to start reading at chapter 56.

      The main focus of the film though is the treatment of several Iranianwomen by the society in which they live, and their retreat to a magicalgarden without men. It's an awesomely ambitious adaptation of a famousnovel of the same name by Shahrnush Parsipur (who has a cameoappearance as the brothel madam). It's not particularly successful, Idon't like saying that, but I think even Shirin Neshat, who was presentfor the screening was not happy with the finished article, which took avery long time to film. She has simply tried to weave too many strands.The most successful story perhaps is of the young prostitute Zarin, whois anorexic and actually played very well by a Hungarian actress,Orsolya Tóth. It's no surprise to me that Neshat actually made a 20minute short starring the same actress in 2005 called Zarin, which wasvery well received.

      In the Women Without Men, Zarin, who runs away from a brothel is seenfuriously rubbing her body raw in some public baths. She speaks not asingle word in the whole movie, and that is the most effectivecondemnation of the society she lives in.

      We can see some of the terrible attitudes prevailing then and perhapsnow as well about women. Amir Khan (played very ably by Essa Zahir) atone point approaches one of the women (Faezeh played by Pegah Ferydoni)and gives her this line about how women are flowers who blossom andthen wither. He then asks her to become his second wife; his firstwife, who has withered, will "of course" become her servant. Khan hasabsolutely no idea of the level of misogyny he's communicating. One ofthe women is a general's wife, her husband ends an incredibly oafishrant with an order for her to come and eat some melon because he wantsher to. In the movie we see a distillation of the unfortunateinsensitivities to which a group of Iranian women have been subjected.It's important to note that it would be an overreaction to condemnIranian male society en masse.

      It's a very beautiful movie, the garden of the villa that the general'swife sets herself up in after a very scandalous separation, is reallyvery magical and shot wondrously. I was worried that the movie wasgetting a bit lost in it's quest for aesthetic perfection, and thuslybecomes almost soporific. The stories of the different women became abit cacophonic, there was no unison message. It's got to be prettyunbalanced as well, men are almost uniformly comedy sketch buffoons,the women martyrs.

    2. thisissubtitledmovies from www.subtitledonline.com
      30 Mar 2012, 1:32 pm

      Women Without Men is the debut feature from 'visual artist'-turned-director Shirin Neshat, well known for her artistic works exploringgender relations. It is the adaptation of the 1989 novel of the samename by Shahrnush Parsipur, which was banned by the Iranian governmentin the 1990s for its outspoken depiction of female oppression.

      Women Without Men is a tasteful, beautifully shot, well-meaning dramawith some excellent performances and strong story set in a fascinatingperiod in Iranian history. It's let down a little by its tendency torely on clichés and convenience when it comes to character, but stillan extremely enjoyable take on female independence and the intertwininglives of these four women. LB

    3. criticalview from United States
      30 Mar 2012, 1:32 pm

      My take on the movie was more metaphoric than the reviews I've readabout this movie. The lives of the characters in the movie representeddifferent elements of Iranian society, full of contradictions whereclashes and hopes live side by side. The 1953 democratic revolution wasperceived differently by different elements of Iranian society. The keypoint of the film, as I see it, is manifested through the four women,who represented various forms of struggle within the Iranian society,and the gardener, who represented the core of Iranian culture, with afocus on creating beauty and providing hospitality to all.

      I see Zarin, the prostitute, portraying the victimization of Iran,which had been suffering from abuse inflicted on her by variouselements that humiliate her, robbing her of her dignity with completedisregard to her pain and true desires. Zarin's soul was awakened by avisit from the gardener who offered her hope of a new start through thewind of change that was taking shape through the political awakeningthat was promising revolutionary changes. She runs away from thebrothel and is seen in a public bath furiously rubbing her body in asymbolic way of ridding herself of her sins/victimization as a firststep toward regaining her dignity. She then walked into the garden ofhope where she found peace and became part of the garden to be nurturedby those victims who represent the masses of the Iranian people whofound hope of a better future for Iran through the revolution. Theyfelt strong connections to Zarin and needed her to heal in order fortheir hope to be realized. Zarin's silence throughout the moviereflects the absence of her voice (Iran's voice) in the politicalprocess, an effective way of portraying the country's victimization bythe Shah's dictatorship, and his backers, the West.

      Munis, the sister, was victimized by the culture/religious restrictions(manifested through Amir, her brother) who isolated her and preventedher from participating Iran's political process, thus limiting her rolein society to a mere servant. Munis' frustration led her to destroy herbody in order to liberate her soul. Her spirit was finally liberatedand joined the revolution by embodying one of the leaders of therevolution.

      Faeza, the friend of the sister, portrayed the majority of Iranianwomen who are traditionally and culturally compliant. She has nointerest in any political changes. Her only aspiration is to liveaccording to traditions by getting married and be a good wife. Herconscious was tested when she witnessed her friend Munis' suicide infrustration over her brother control. She imagined her friend callingon her to set her free, which she did; but while she wandered thestreet in pursuit of her friend's spirit, she was raped by twotraditional men, causing her to lose her innocence and feel ashamed.She then became an outcast and destitute and in need of help. Munis'spirit guided her to the garden of hope where she met with the othervictims (women) and together they formed a support group spirited bythe revolution which they hoped would bring them rejuvenation and abetter life. But in order for their aspirations to come true, therevolution, embodied by Munis, must survive. Unfortunately, the Shah,backed by the CIA, killed any hope of liberation by instigating a coupled by the Shah and the corrupt elites of Iranian society.

      The wife of the general represent ed the upper class/intellectuals ofthe Iranian society who dreamed of a meaningful and fulfilling lifethat would allow her to grow .

      The man who nurtured the garden represents the essence or foundation ofIran itself where all are welcome and hope is eternal. The magicalgarden the general's wife purchased is a place where hope lives anddie.

    4. (AfroPixFlix) from United States
      30 Mar 2012, 1:32 pm

      More of a visual impressionist than storyteller, Shirin Neshat uses thethread of magic-realism to weave together vignettes of five besiegedIranian women. The film beautifully depicts the early fifties era inIran, during the Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi coup and rebellion againstAmerican-British usurpation. Men fare badly in this feature, with maybeone silent gardener playing a benign male role. Neshat has a giftedeye, so check out the extra features for her detail-rich explanationsof film nuancing. AfroPixFlix finds 8 fig-forks for this film-festivalfeature.Women Without Men (Zanan-e bedun-e mardan) 2009; 91 minsDirectors: Shirin Neshat, Shoja Azari Writers: Shoja Azari, ShirinNeshat

    5. Karl Self from Yurp
      30 Mar 2012, 1:32 pm

      In a way, it does what it says on the tin: it's a movie about women whoescape the — always suppressive — men in their life. In Iran in the1950ies. There is a woman whose brother is trying to force her intomarriage, a prostitute, the ageing wife of a general, a girl in lovewith an orthodox Muslim. All suffer ignominy from men without reallyengaging them or even fighting back. They eventually all retreat into asurreal orchard owned by the general's wife. At the same time we get towitness a bit of the political upheavals of the 1954 CIA-sponsored coupagainst the democratically-elected prime minister Mossadeq.

      Director Shirin Neshat was born in Iran and left as a young woman as aresult of the 1979 Islamic revolution; so she knows both Iran and theWest. Here she is able to employ her expertise as a video artist insome scenes, which give the film a unique visual style (for examplethere is a "still" scene where the people seem to be both frozen aswell as slightly moving).

      What I didn't like about this movie is that it always stays on thepolitical surface. We notice that there is a revolution going on, butwe don't get to see any historic context — by way of saying "sit upand listen, USA, this is how you fecked up Iran in a big way".Communists as well as loyal supporters of the Shah somehow seem to beequally opposing "the system". I also didn't like how women areportrayed as helpless victims of one-dimensionally evil men.

    6. alexanderjosefina from United States
      30 Mar 2012, 1:32 pm

      bad movies are just bad,cause they are nit done well, have no scripts,or terrible actors, lighting is wrong and above all director is justfar off the line of what movie making is all about. this terribly badfilm has it all in it. and all that shows how invaluable, stupid, andworthlessness all world festivals are all together to get all thesestupid films merits and awards. man i was almost wet in my pants as itwent on every 10 minutes. bad movie from a good artist, but hell whosaid all artists should make films. this one is out of pure complexionsfrom an artist who wants to be taken seriously as an director. sorrygirl, you have miles to go to get there . go back to your art

    7. janborilden (janborilden@hotmail.com) from Bergen, Norway
      30 Mar 2012, 1:32 pm

      The director Shirin Neshat has in "Zanan-e bedun-e mardan", made avisually stunning and important film, with a lot of good actingperformances. Especially by Pegah Ferydoni(as Faezeh), and AritaShahrzad (as Farrokhlagha). When you walk out of the cinema afterhaving watched this movie, the real world will for a time seem a bitmore colorless and unreal.

      With the military coup of the Shah of Iran in 1953 as a background,four women find out the price for freedom. And through them, theaudience find out the price and value of freedom for themselves. Thefilm also draws the historical lines between the democratic Iran of theearly 1950s, and the "Green movement" of today.

    8. Sindre Kaspersen from Norway
      30 Mar 2012, 1:32 pm

      Summer of 1953 in Thehran, Iran lives middle aged singer Fakhri in anemotionless marriage, prostitute Zarin that is shocked by her customerschanging faces, young Faezeh that loses her dreams of marriage and herfriend Munis that strongly objects to her brother's rules.

      Feature film debut of the exile-Iranian visual artist that started herartistic work as a photographer is an aesthetic art-film with strongcontrasts where the realistic and surrealistic converges. Her vision ofa prehistoric Iran is complimented by the symbolic photos created byprominent photographer Martin Gschlacht "Revanche" (2008) and "Lourdes"(2009), and her archetype film style is characterized by quiet cameramovements, varied moods, distinct female portraits, remote recordingsand long takes without dialog. With this profoundly moving picture thatcontains one of modern film history's most artistic scenes and that washonored with the Silver Lion and UNICEF-award at Venice Film Festivalin 2009, individualistic filmmaker Shirin Neshat who immigrated to theunited states at the age of seventeen has paled way for future Iranianfilmmakers. A political character drama and a social comment thatleaves loud echoes.

    9. Red-125 from Upstate New York
      30 Mar 2012, 1:32 pm

      Women Without Men (2009) is an Iranian film whose original title isZanan-e bedun-e mardan. It was directed by Shirin Neshat and ShojaAzari. The title "Women Without Men" is misleading, because the womenare only "without" men because they are able temporarily to escape fromthe men in their lives by moving to a rural estate.

      The movie takes place in 1953, when the CIA helped overthrow thedemocratic government of Iran and put the Shah into power. Some of thewomen are running from government oppression, and some of them arerunning from the oppression of the men in their lives.

      The women in the film had few acceptable options–probably an accuratereflection of the lives of women in Iran during this period. It's agrim situation, and it's depicted in a grim film. I don't have theexpertise to know how faithful the film is to the novel on which it'sbased, or to the reality of events in 1950's Iraq. That informationwill have to come from an expert. (My guess is that the portrayal ofwomen's lives is pretty accurate.)

      This is a powerful film. We saw it at the excellent Rochester 360-365film festival–dumb name but great festival. There's enough in thisfilm to make it worth seeing, but, in my opinion, not enough to warrantseeking it out at all costs. It should work well on a small screen.

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