Film Studies: Iranian Cinema - After the Revolution

When the architects of the 80’s post-revolutionary Iranian cinema decided to restart filmmaking, their point of reference was the famous sentence: 'We are not against cinema, we are against prostitution'. This phrase was coined by Ruhollah Khomeini, and following the revolution, a mandate was issued requiring this phrase to be shown in the form of slogans written on placards and as signs in movie theatres. For Khomeini, cinema was clearly considered a 'prostitution centre.' Within five years of the revolution, Khomeini's vision was fully implemented in Iran. Not only was the so-called Film Farsi done away with, but more than a generation of Iranian film actors were completely removed in one of the most significant cultural cleansings after the revolution.

In this new era of filmmaking, serious efforts were undertaken to avoid any accusation of ‘deviancy.’ The result was that the first-generation post-revolutionary filmmakers started to make critical social cinema while navigating ever-changing censorship practices and ideologically driven policies. Indeed, with each election of a new president, policies and ideologies have had a different effect on filmmaking. However, one characteristic that has remained unchanged is that it was, and remains, difficult for women to be women. Due to this reality, women have become the subject of many films in Iranian cinema, while many female filmmakers have begun and continue making films reflecting the conditions of women in Iran. In this course, we will discuss the influence, religion and power politics in the social life of Iranian people, with a particular focus on the role of women within the subject and production of films.

Tutor: Sima Sheibani

  • Week 1: Chess of the Wind (24 January)

  • Week 2: Lecture - The Glory is Gone (31 January)

  • Week 3: Taste of Cherry (7 February)

  • Week 4: Lecture - Emergency Exit (14 February)

  • Week 5: Under the Skin of the City (21 February)

  • Week 6: Lecture - From Inside My Heart (28 February)

  • Week 7: A Separation (6 March)

  • Week 8: Lecture - In Search of a Future (13 March)

Presented in collaboration with Sheffield Hallam University. 

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