Qaleh (The Women’s Quarter)

Date: 1966–80

Materials: 35mm film transferred to digital format; black-and-white, sound

Length: 18 min.

Credit: Courtesy of the artist. Presentation supported by The George Foundation.

Showtimes: Daily at 11 a.m., 2:15 p.m.; additional Thursday screening at 5:30 p.m.

The Women’s Quarter depicts the life of prostitutes in Tehran's brothel district—an area known as Shahr-e-No. The deeply affecting film closely follows a number of women and delves into the desperate conditions that led them into prostitution. Commissioned by the Women’s Organization of Iran, the film was banned before shooting was completed. Despite the loss of some original footage, Shirdel decided to finish the film following the 1979 revolution, and incorporated photographs by the late Kaveh Golestan that were taken more than 10 years after the film was shot. The Shahr-e-No district was demolished in 1980.  

  • Image courtesy of the artist
  • Image courtesy of the artist
  • Image courtesy of the artist


Co-curator Tina Kukielski on Qaleh (The Women’s Quarter)

Museum of Art Theater