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(aka "Zanan-e bedun-e mardan" )


directed by Shirin Neshat and Shoja Azari
Germany/Austria/France 2009


Every frame of “Women Without Men” and every image within those frames attest to the background of its first-time director, Shirin Neshat, as a photographer celebrated for her explorations of Islamic gender issues. This visually transfixing film, which originated as a video installation, has the feel of an exhibition of Ms. Neshat’s work whose figures have stirred to life to play out a tragic feminist allegory.

With its intense chiaroscuro and meticulous manipulation of color that ranges from stark black and white to richer, shifting hues in scenes set in a metaphorical orchard, the film surpasses even Michael Haneke’s “White Ribbon” in the fierce beauty and precision of its cinematography (by Martin Gschlacht). Two of the film’s recurrent images are of a long dirt road extending to the horizon on which the characters walk, and a brook that suggests a deep current of feminine resilience below an impassive exterior.

Excerpt of review from Stephen Holden located HERE


Theatrical Release: Marcb 5th, 2010 (Sweden)

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DVD Review: Artificial Eye (Spine # 499) - Region 0 - PAL

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Artificial Eye

Region 0 - PAL

Runtime 1:36:03 (4% PAL Speedup)

2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 8.19 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio Farsi (Dolby Digital 2.0 and 5.1)
Subtitles English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Artificial Eye

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.35:1

Edition Details:
• Interview with Director Shirin Neshat (25:15)
• Trailer

DVD Release Date: August 9th, 2010
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Chapters 12



I was quite taken aback by Shirin Neshat's Women Without Men, as it was one of the most visually luscious films that I have seen all year. I have to admit that going in to the viewing, I knew next to nothing about the film and I found myself mesmerized by almost every frame. Although I'm not sure that the film's narrative matches it visual beauty, it works well enough to make this essential viewing.

The film uses a rather unique aesthetic, with many of it's shots likely done through filters. Grays and similar colors pop up quite frequently, but all of the colors in here are quite lovely. Well, sometimes they can look a little washed out, but I am fully confident that they look the way that the director intended. The film exhibits great depth and clarity for an interlaced (don't forget that this is PAL) SD transfer, which can likely be accounted for by the newness of the film and the relatively high bitrate. Indeed, the still images don't do this film justice. In motion it's fantastic. What's more, I can't remember a single instance of damage or artifacting. I understand that this may sound a bit hyperbolic, but I this is one of the best SD transfers that I've seen in a very long time. It's really that gorgeous.

The film is presented in its original Farsi with optional English subtitles, and we get the options between Dolby Digital 2.0 or 5.1. For obvious reasons the latter is the preferable track and features admirable levels of clarity and contrast. Without any unwanted background noise, this is a very strong audio option.

Aside from a trailer, the only extra is an interview with director Shirin Neshat. Clocking in at over twenty minutes, Neshat goes into a variety of topics from her background as an artist to the film's origin and production. For those interested in the film, this is a valuable resource.

As I said before, the film's visuals work better than it's story. That being said, it's definitely worth giving at least one view. I for one loved it and my one only real regret with the edition is that it isn't in 1080p. I suppose that probably wasn't economically viable, so I'll just be happy with what we have. Highly recommended.

  - Brian Montgomery


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Artificial Eye

Region 0 - PAL



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