SLIFF 2010 Review: WOMEN WITHOUT MEN
WOMEN WITHOUT MEN is told from the point of view of four women. The time is Iran 1953 and there is political unrest and unrest of another kind brewing. Munis is a 30 year old unmarried woman living in her brother’s house. He wants her to marry but she does not want to marry. Munis is very upset and concerned about the events that are transpiring in her country. She is glued to the radio for news. Faezeh is Munis friend. She is love with Munis brother but he is going to marry someone else.
Farrokhlagha is a 50 year old woman unhappy in her marriage to a military man. She realizes just how unhappy she is when she encounters an old beau who has come back to Iran from the west. Zarin is a prostitute who is numb to life until she looks up and sees a man without a face at her bedside. Zarin flees from him, her life and the city; she stumbles upon an orchard as a refuge. Farrokhlagha is longing to escape her marriage and decides to buy an orchard. Thus Farrokhlagha and Zarin’s life intersect. Munis is bound to help the cause for her country’s freedom and in the wake of her quest her friend is raped. Somehow Munis knows about the orchard and she delivers Faezeh there. The three women find friendship and solace there. The unrest in the town is becoming more and more violent until the violence spills over into the orchard.
This film reminds me of Ingmar Bergman films; there is lots of walking through bleak landscapes aimlessly. The landscape seems to play off of the events that are occurring in the town; more unrest, bleaker landscapes. The film is interesting in that it reveals the repeat of history; a lone girl (Munis), in a mob, protesting the government which leads to a death and the allusion to more current events. The film is slow going in spots but the portrayal of the women and the men that they interact with is very telling about the society. The film is interesting to watch and the visuals are beautiful. The film was nominated for the Golden Lion Award and won for The Silver Lion Award and UNICEF at the Venice Film Festival.
WOMEN WITHOUT MEN will play during the 19th Annual Stella Artois St. Louis International Film Festival on Saturday, November 13th at 7:15 pm and Sunday, November 14th at 4:45 pm at the Plaza Frontenac Cinema.