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In a way, it does what it says on the tin: it's a movie about women who escape the -- always suppressive -- men in their life. In Iran in the 1950ies. There is a woman whose brother is trying to force her into marriage, a prostitute, the ageing wife of a general, a girl in love with an orthodox Muslim. All suffer ignominy from men without really engaging them or even fighting back. They eventually all retreat into a surreal orchard owned by the general's wife. At the same time we get to witness a bit of the political upheavals of the 1954 CIA-sponsored coup against the democratically-elected prime minister Mossadeq.
Director Shirin Neshat was born in Iran and left as a young woman as a result of the 1979 Islamic revolution; so she knows both Iran and the West. Here she is able to employ her expertise as a video artist in some scenes, which give the film a unique visual style (for example there is a "still" scene where the people seem to be both frozen as well as slightly moving).
What I didn't like about this movie is that it always stays on the political surface. We notice that there is a revolution going on, but we don't get to see any historic context -- by way of saying "sit up and listen, USA, this is how you fecked up Iran in a big way". Communists as well as loyal supporters of the Shah somehow seem to be equally opposing "the system". I also didn't like how women are portrayed as helpless victims of one-dimensionally evil men.
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