Iranian Cinema and Persian Literature


Project Summary:

This project studies Iranian cinema as the dominant form of cultural expression after the revolution in 1978-9, replacing Persian Poetry.A number of art-house films are explored to depict art-house cinema is influenced by Persian literature.

Project Description:

This project is a comparative study that investigates how visual arts have become the dominant cultural form in Iran, replacing poetry, after the 1979 revolution. First, it examines the historical, institutional, and theoretical contexts in which Iranian cinema flourished. It represents the deep-seated relation between non-narrative Iranian films – made by auteur filmmakers such as Abbas Kiarostami – and Persian classical ghazal poetry, Sufism, and modern poetry. The next parts critically investigate the formal history and canonical cultural forms of expression in contrast to the films informed by the “informal” history represented in Iranian visual arts like ta’zieh (passion plays). Chapters three and four explore the work of directors like Bahram Bayzai that re-historicized Iranian modernity. It argues that these cinematic re-historicizing practices serve as examples of a genuine non-Western modernity that has influenced Iranian society. This research demonstrates that post-revolutionary visual aesthetics, informed by Persian philosophy, poetry, and the conventions of traditional visual arts, become the dominant artistic form of expression. Hence, instead of being symptomatic of socialist or revolutionary ideas, the post-revolutionary Iranian cinema accommodates a humanist approach.

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Funded

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Primary Researcher

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United States

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University of Alberta, SSHRC

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