By Hamid Naficy
Hamid Naficy is likely one of the world's top gurus on Iranian movie, and A Social background of Iranian Cinema is his magnum opus. overlaying the overdue 19th century to the early twenty-first and addressing documentaries, renowned genres, and paintings movies, it explains Iran's strange cinematic creation modes, in addition to the function of cinema and media in shaping modernity and a latest nationwide identification in Iran. This complete social background unfolds throughout 4 volumes, each one of that are liked on its own.
The awesome efflorescence in Iranian movie, television, and the hot media because the consolidation of the Islamic Revolution animates quantity four. in this time, documentary motion pictures proliferated. Many filmmakers took as their topic the revolution and the bloody eight-year battle with Iraq; others critiqued postrevolution society. The robust presence of girls on display and in the back of the digital camera resulted in a dynamic women's cinema. A dissident art-house cinema—involving the superior Pahlavi-era new-wave administrators and a more youthful iteration of cutting edge postrevolution directors—placed Iranian cinema at the map of global cinemas, bringing status to Iranians at domestic and overseas. A fight over cinema, media, tradition, and, eventually, the legitimacy of the Islamic Republic, emerged and intensified. The media grew to become a contested website of public international relations because the Islamic Republic regime in addition to overseas governments adversarial to it sought to harness Iranian pop culture and media towards their very own ends, inside and outdoors of Iran. The vast overseas flow of movies made in Iran and its diaspora, the substantial dispersion of media-savvy filmmakers overseas, and new filmmaking and conversation applied sciences helped to globalize Iranian cinema.
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Extra info for A Social History of Iranian Cinema: Volume 4 - The Globalizing Era
The irony is that fiction cinema owed some of its luster to its nonfictional sources (see Kiarostami’s letter to Shirdel later in this chapter). At the same time, documentaries, particularly social-problem films, underground films, and Internet films bent on exposing the underbelly of the Islamic Republic and on critiquing its treatment of women, homosexuals, ethnoreligious minorities, and dissidents countered the art cinema’s nonpolitical, aestheticized, and humanistic representations. 6 No doubt, this expansion into foreign markets will affect what documentaries will be made, as it did with fiction films, and it is likely to bring with it diverse charges of distorting Iranian reality, the peddling of exoticism to the first world, the washing of internal dirty laundry in full view of the international public, the undermining of the Islamist regime and aiding opposition, and the whitewashing of the Islamist regime’s crimes.
In Operation Valfajr 8 (Valfajr 8, 1986), directed by Avini, an episode of the Chronicle of Victory devoted to the battle of Iranian foot soldiers armed with only machine guns and shoulder- fired, rocket-propelled grenade launchers against Iraqi armored tanks, a man is bulldozing the earth to create a defensive ramp, while others are digging a trench with small hand shovels. The voice-over, read emotionally by Avini, states: “Seated on a mountain of iron, he is moving the earth. Unless you become one with the soil, you cannot reach the height of transcendence.
Fighters shoot grenades from their rpg launchers, men tie red bandannas of martyrdom around infants’ foreheads, one bandanna- wearing child carries a grenade, another an rpg launcher, men pray in the fields of war, soldiers crawl like snakes in the mud, Iranian flags wave in the air, men say farewell to each other, and marching women carry flags and babies (figure 4). ” Then, with her voice rising, she declaims: “As long as there is a 4 In Headless in the Alley of Love a child appears to be carrying a rocket-propelled grenade launcher.