Adapting a Persian magic realist novel on screen: The case of women without men Articles uri icon

publication date

  • July 2022

start page

  • apac010

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1755-0637

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1755-0645


  • This paper will explore Shirin Neshat s adaptation of Shahrnush Parsipur s novel Women Without Men (1989). A primary focus will be on Neshat s aesthetic choices related to the creation of space and the depiction of bodies and the extent to which they reflect her exilic condition. Another distinctive aspect to be explored concerns the dialectical relations in the film that visually depict gendered spaces inside homes and in public spaces. A related area here is the representation of an orchard as a heterotopian third space that gives shelter to wounded women. While both the novel and the film portray this orchard as a place of becoming, the film s garden contains allegorical relations that portray it as a place of imaginary exile. Finally, the paper will argue that the portrayal of wounded female bodies is a political sign and a metaphor for women s traumatic experiences of patriarchal culture.


  • shirin neshat; shahrnush parsipur; adaptation; women’s cinema; exilic cinema; gendered space