Arts, Culture & Media

A Garden of Eden without Adam

Shirin Neshat creates visually stunning short films and art. The Iranian-born artist may be best known for her photographic series "Women of Allah" (1993-97) which depicts women wearing the chador, some carrying guns, their faces and hands covered with finely written Persian script. Her first feature-length film, "Women Without Men" (2009), has traveled across the world to film festivals (including Toronto, London, Vienna, and Venice where Neshat won the Silver Lion award for Best Director). Now, it is finally arriving in theaters in the US.

Set during the 1953 coup d'etat in Iran, the film follows four oppressed women as they seek their freedom. They leave behind their lives in Tehran and head to the Garden of Karaj, a kind of Adam-less Garden of Eden. Neshat's achingly beautiful visuals grab you immediately:

Studio 360 talked with Neshat in 2003 about how Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution changed the visual landscape by making color taboo. She says women are windows into Iranian culture and value systems:

"Women Without Men" is playing in many cities (including Chicago, New Orleans, Houston, Scottsdale, Fortworth, San Francisco, and Seattle). It officially opens in New York City on Friday, May 14. You can see a full list of showings here.

- Jess Jiang

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