01:685:330 Contemporary Iranian Cinema - Synopsis (3 credits)

Pre-requisites: None

Course Description
Having gained a significant place in the wide success of world cinema on the international scene, Iranian cinema has opened a window of spectatorship into the culture, society, and politics of Iran. Its visual language, although non legible by Hollywood's tradition, has made its poetic and social discourses concerning the nature of human experience, knowledge, value, and reality accessible and understandable to an extended international audience. By showcasing major themes central to the history and society of Iran, such as war, revolution and displacement, women and gender issues, children and poverty, social tensions, city and rural and tribal spaces, artistic and intellectual negotiations, political participation, domestic and diasporic genres, and cultural customs, religion, and modernity, Iranian filmmakers have transgressed the intellectual boundaries of the nation-state to disseminate a vision of universal humanity in struggle.

We use Iranian cinema in a historical, cultural, aesthetic, and technological context as a key to the learning process of a wide range of theoretical and philosophical perspectives in film to represent issues of a broader world. They include theories of representation, post modernism, neo-realism, cultural identity, feminist film theory, public sphere, gender and performance, spectatorship, politics, of location, orientalism, and national identity. The assigned readings were selected among a wide range of academic disciplines to develop an interdisciplinary critical approach to film. The course ultimately discusses the use of cinema, as aesthetic, creative, and technological means, in telling stories about how art and technology are able not only to reexamine, explore and restore histories, identities, languages, and cultures but also to address social justice issues and the need for transformative social change.

Course Learning Goals
The course intends to engage students in group-discussion with colleagues concerning complex issues in history and culture of Iran and their representations. The writing assignments intend to encourage students to reach out to their creative and artistic skills and imagination to produce cinematic works.

*This course is cross listed with 01:013:301; credit will not be given for both courses.

Required Texts and Sample Films
There will be one screening per each class followed by class discussion of the assigned readings posted on Sakai.

Sample Films:
Children of Heaven by Majid Majidi, 1997
Divorce Iranian Style by Ziba Mir-Hosseini and Kim Longinotto, 1998
Baran by Majid Majidi, 2001
Marmulak (The Lizard) by Kamal Tabrizi, 2004
Offside by Jafar Panahi, 2006
Khaneh Pedari (The Paternal House) by Kianoosh Ayyari, 2010
Jodai-e Nader az Simin: A Separation by Asghar Farhadi, 2013
Asabani Nistam! (I Am not Angry!) by Reza Dormishian, 2014


Class attendance and participation 10%
Participation in weekly discussions 15%
Weekly class presentations 15%
Group projects (1 of 2) 20%
Group project (2 of 2) 20%
Short writing assignments 20%