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During the year long Commission program, Neshat worked on special effects for her first feature film, Women Without Men. The film's screenplay is an adaptation of a surreal novel written by Shahrnoush Parsipour, a celebrated Iranian woman writer living in exile. The book chronicles the lives of five women running away from some sort of social, cultural or sexual oppression; whose lives mysteriously converge in an orchard, where they attempt to create their own society. The story follows the construction and eventual breakdown of this 'utopian' society.
Through the use of a mystical, metaphorical and feminine terminology rooted in Iranian culture, the film addresses the universal subject of human suffering that is caused by oppressive cultural and religious environments where 'madness' and eventually 'suicide' become true options for salvation. The film's main location will be an Iranian garden that is reminiscent of the traditional concept of 'paradise' in both Persian and Islamic traditions. The film will attempt to explore the 'internal' world of each woman, a mad pattern of obscure dreams, anxieties, fears, obsessions, and ultimately spirituality. Similar to the novel, the film will be created in a series of short stories which eventually connect in the final chapter.