Three women come together in a nation on the verge of a revolution in this drama from artist-turned-filmmaker Shirin Neshat. It's 1953, and political discord has gripped Iran as a military coup d'etat threatens to depose Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh. Munis (Shabnam Tolouei) is a thoughtful woman who has been following the news with great interest, though her brother Assad (Bijan Daneshmand) regards her interest in politics as foolish and unbecoming a woman. Munis' friend Faezeh (Pegah Ferydoni) shares some of her views, but is ultimately more interested in trying to impress Assad. Elsewhere in Tehran, Fakhri (Arita Shahrzad) is a woman who is well into middle age and married to a career military official who has lost interest in her both romantically and intellectually. And Zarin (Orsi Tóth) is a streetwalker who is looking for a life outside of selling her body to men who don't care about her. Eager to meet like-minded people, Fakhri tries to establish a literary salon for women, and Munis and Zarin join her in trying to find a satisfaction in the written word that has been denied them in life. Zanan-e Bedun-e Mardan (aka Women Without Men) was directed by Neshat in collaboration with Shoja Azari; it is the former's first feature film.
by Mark Deming synopsis