[For Immediate Release—Los Angeles, 12/23/2010] On Friday, January 7, 2011, 7:30 pm, the Levantine Cultural Center's monthly New Voices in Middle Eastern Cinema series will present a special screening of visual artist Shirin Neshat's first feature film, Women Without Men, winner of the Venice Film Festival's Silver Bear. Set against the tumultuous backdrop of Iran's 1953 CIA- and Mi5-backed coup d'état against the democratically-elected president, Mohammad Mossadegh, the destinies of four women converge in a beautiful orchard garden, where they find independence, solace and companionship.
Co-directed by Neshat's partner Shoja Arari, Women Without Men (2009, 99') is a political thriller and as such the film is highly relevant in our times—particularly in view of the June 2009 elections in Iran, and with the U.S. continually embroiled in neighboring Muslim countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan. However, as critic Sheana Ochoa writes in the Levantine Review, "the film is a masterpiece of narrative poetry. Often its images are unforgettable." Blogging for the New York Review of Books, Sarah Kerr notes that, "Neshat's execution generates more suspense-there is a challenging sensuality in the faces she captures...she has a strong composing eye-her groupings of people are beautiful." The New York Times called the film "visually transfixing."
Women Without Men is Neshat's independent film adaptation of Shahrnush Parsipur's magic realist novel in which Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh is overthrown and the Shah is reinstalled as the Iranian leader favored by the U.S. and Britain. Previously known for her short videos, Shirin Neshat has been a figure in the art world since the 1990s. Among the most acclaimed of her earlier works are Turbulent—her take on the prohibition in Iran against women singing in public—and Rapture. Shirin Neshat is also widely appreciated for her art photography. Her work frequently addresses the problem of women in the Islamic public sphere and issues of heroism, martydom, Islam and Christianity.
Don't miss this exclusive screening, followed by a lively film discussion with special guests including famed cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond in conversation with Women Without Men cinematographer Martin Gschlacht and director Shirin Neshat (all talent subject to availability). The film discussion will be followed by a reception.
Tickets are $15 general admission, $10 students with I.D. and members. For reservations and further info call Levantine Cultural Center, 310.657.5511, or reserve tix online at levantinecenter.org.
Women Without Men is presented in association with IndiePix Films, and screens in the monthly New Voices in Middle Eastern Cinema series, cosponsored by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. This series cosponsored by the Harmony Gold Theatre, the Muslim Public Affairs Council's Hollywood Bureau, Cinema Libre Studio, the UCLA Film & Television Archives, the Malibu Film Society and the Southeast European Film Festival. Proceeds benefit the Levantine Cultural Center's programming on interfaith tolerance. The LCC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
Press contact: Vanessa Pimienta, 310.657.5511.