Women Without Men (Zanan-e bedun-e mardan) (2010)
Critic Consensus: Its reach may exceed its grasp, but Women Without Men's beautiful imagery and quiet elegance will entrance patient viewers.
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Critic Reviews for Women Without Men (Zanan-e bedun-e mardan)
Its elegiac mood and chiaroscuro beauty are hard to shake.
Eloquent film illuminates Iranian history from a female point of view.
The script jettisons most of the book's more powerful sections, upping the political angle and inexplicably eliminating motivations that made the strongly feminist story, rich in symbolism, so intriguing.
It's a celebration of women's resilience in the face of absolute patriarchy, an oppression that's felt on personal, cultural, and political levels.
Women Without Men has compelling stretches, but the film's formal concerns overwhelm the storytelling.
Audience Reviews for Women Without Men (Zanan-e bedun-e mardan)
Magic realism works surprisingly well alongside "everyday life" in this drama which focuses on the interweaving of four Iranian women in 1953 - the year of the US/British coup d'etat. Complex but approachable, the film deftly tackles feminist, religious and political themes in an assured evocation of period. Excellent performances from the four lead actors.
I had no idea what happened in this movie. The plot is pretty impossible to follow. The movie does have a great visual style and the photography is amazing. However, many shots and visual effects in the movie were deliberately stolen from American films (Spike Lee's floating effect, American Beauty's opening and ending, Coen brother imagery, etc). This movie will keep you in your seat if only for its stylistic feel.
1953 Iran is like the present day Iran in some areas, as women have to live by prescribed roles in both times. For example, Zarin(Orsolya Toth) is a prostitute. Fakhri(Arita Shahrzad) is nearing fifty and encounters Abbas(Bijan Daneshmand), an ex-flame, just as her husband(Tahmoures Tehrani), a general, is threatening to marry a younger woman. It is Munis(Shabnam Toloui) who sees the possibility for a better future as she listens to news reports on the radio about the protests that are happening just outside her door but is forbidden from attending by her brother Amir Khan(Essa Zahir) who is angry at her for not being married at the ripe old age of thirty, as her friend Faezeh(Pegah Ferydoni) commiserates with her. "Women without Men" gets off to a slow start but gains steam and a visual flair once it not only escapes from its social realist origins to tell its story from a magic realism angle, but also as the female characters are escaping from their roles. Zarin runs away from the brothel to the country while Fakhri herself runs away and buys an orchard. Munis' escape is the most drastic but it is also not the end of her story, as rebirth in both a literal and a symbolic sense is a major theme of the movie as Iran is born again in a revolution(I love that a Communist is portrayed in a positive light), just not one with a happy ending this time around for the country. (Originally reviewed May 16, 2010)
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