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Zanan-e bedun-e mardan (2009)

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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.


, (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
7 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Shabnam Toloui ...
Pegah Ferydoni ...
Arita Shahrzad ...
Zarin (as Orsi Toth)
Ahmad Hamed ...
Ali (as Navíd Akhavan)
Essa Zahir ...
Amir Khan
Tahmoures Tehrani ...
General Sadri
Abbas Bakhtiari ...
Mehdi Moinzadeh ...
Communist Leader
Farhad Payar ...
Leading Officer
Shahrnoush Parsipour ...
Madame Pari
Said Oveissi ...
Mithra Zahedi ...


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.

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Release Date:

12 March 2010 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

Women Without Men  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$14,404 (USA) (9 April 2010)


$175,995 (USA) (11 June 2010)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs



Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


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. See more »


Featured in At the Movies: Venice Film Festival 2009 (2009) See more »


Aavaaze Delkash Aknoun
Written by Rahim Pakzad
Performed by Delkash
See more »

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User Reviews

"Allegoric and contrasting art film..."
28 October 2012 | by (Norway) – See all my reviews

Iranian visual artist Shirin Neshat's first narrative feature which she co-wrote with writer Steven Henry Madoff and Iranian-American screenwriter, producer and director Shoja Azari who also worked as co-director on the film, is based on a short novel by Iranian author Shahrnush Parsipur. It premiered In competition at the 66th Venice International Film Festival in 2009, was screened in the Special Presentations section at the 34th Toronto International Film Festival in 2009 and is a Germany-Austria-France co-production which was shot on location in Casablanca, Morocco and produced by producers Philippe Bober, Martin Gschlacht and Susanne Marian. It tells the story about a middle-aged singer named Fakhri who lives in an emotionless marriage, a prostitute named Zarin whom is troubled by her customers changing faces, a young woman named Faezeh who loses her dreams of marriage and her a woman named Munis who strongly objects to her brothers rules during a summer in Theran, Iran 1953.

In 1990, Iranian author Shahrnush Parsipur wrote the magic-realist novel "Women without Men", was arrested during the release of the book and pressured by the Iranian government who banned the book in the mid-1990s and her from continuing to write the way she did. Shirin Neshat's adaptation of a story that entwines the lives of four women is set against the backdrop of the Iranian coup d'état in 1953 where the democratically elected prime minister Mohammad Mosaddegh (1882-1967) was overthrown by the British secret intelligence service MI6 and the United States central intelligence agency CIA. This character-driven and narrative-driven feature film debut which is narrated from multiple viewpoints with a fragmented narrative structure, which combines facts and fiction and which is notable for it's adventurous and colorful milieu depictions, sterling production design and costume design, evocatively and unsentimentally depicts the suppression of women in a sex segregated society and a nations protest against an historic governmental change.

Exiled Shirin Neshat who started her artistic work as a photographer is an aesthetic, allegoric and contrasting art film where the realistic and the surreal converges. Her vision of a mid-19th century Iran is emphasized by the symbolic and prominent cinematography by cinematographer Martin Gschlacht and her archetype style of filmmaking is characterized by quiet camera movements, varied atmospheres, distinct female portraits, remote recordings and long takes without dialog. With this profoundly moving directorial debut which contains one of the most brutally expressive though cinematically masterful scenes in modern cinema history and which gained, among other awards, the Silver Lion for Best Director at the 66th Venice Film Festival in 2009, individualistic filmmaker Shirin Neshat who immigrated to the United States at the age of seventeen has hopefully reinforced the opportunities for future Iranian filmmakers who are limited by the fundamentalist Islamic regime. A political character piece and a social comment that leaves loud echoes.

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