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Kiarostami manipulates his material with skill, playing with the audience’s expectations of documentary realism. The enduring motif of journeys in NIC films, often with spiritual or metaphysical undertones, also has its counterparts in Persian poetry, most notably in Attar’s The Conference of the Birds , where a mystical quest serves to convey the moral that the destination is often less important than the journey itself. Kandahar Mohsen Makhmalbaf, and At Five in the Afternoon Samira Makhmalbaf, were both shot on location in Afghanistan, with non-professional actors, and the tragic experiences of ordinary Afghans told within the parameters of realistic narratives. Lily was born in Tehran. Her parents immigrated to the United States…. The fact remains that Iranian filmmakers were forced to negotiate these restrictions, and the result was a different form of cinematic language. She is a senior staff writer for The Wall Street Journal covering….

But, as Shohat and Stam argued “the allegorical tendency available to all art becomes exaggerated in the case of repressive regimes” 33 and this would seem to apply to the way NIC filmmakers have got round censorship conflicts. The film ends with the twins’ blind mother, herself just as secluded as her daughters, wandering into the street and tentatively reaching out for a symbolic apple. He is the author…. But his most ambitious films were to come. Kiarostami, speaking about Close-Up , claimed that “even I, the film-maker, get confused as to which parts were fiction and which documentary” Directors who had been working in the pre-revolution era found success again, such as Amir Naderi with The Runner or Dariush Mehrjui with The Tenants , while a new post-revolution generation also came to the fore, including Mohsen Makhmalbaf, who made humanistic films using the war as a theme to criticise Iran’s government and society. Makhmalbaf’s approach differs from Kiarostami’s insofar as it is more personal; he frequently appears as himself in his films, but what the two share in common is an active interrogation of the authoritarian filmmaker and cinema’s absolutist claim to truth.

In government officials introduced a set of censorship regulations: From then on, Kiarostami would continue to be a regular at film festivals worldwide, soon to be joined by other standard-bearers of the NIC. This is the official website of the Virtual Embassy in Iran.

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The pseudo-documentary narrative is based on a real-life event, concerning two year-old twins who were locked up inside their home by an over-protective father. Hamid Dabashi summarised this dis-orientating amalgam of fact and fiction: As well as having a long traditional of oral story-telling naqqali and public theatre ro-hoziclassical Persian culture boasts many celebrated poets, such as Omar Khayyam, Ferdowsi or Rumi 34whose epic poems are an acknowledged influence on the philosophy of Kiarostami and Mohsen Makhmalbaf.

Having identified some of the distinctive features of the NIC, these can now be traced back to their underlying influences and motivations, necessarily a complex blend of historical, geographic, aesthetic, economic, political and personal factors, all having played a role in shaping them.

For example, in the scene where Sabzian finally meets the real Makhmalbaf, the film crew is heard off-screen and the sound is cut under the false pretence of equipment failure — in fact this was a deliberate ploy to intensify the emotional power of the scene.

Pardis Sabeti is an Iranian-American computational biologist, medical geneticist and evolutionary geneticist, who developed a bioinformatic statistical method which identifies sections of the genome that….

He developed his own style, however, displaying a passionate concern for social injustice a trait which sadly resulted in the current regime jailing himand has won awards at Cannes, Venice and Berlin.


Prominent Iranian-Americans

Later, the need to entertain a public hungry for cinema, forced the only state production and distribution foundation, Farabi, to let go of its monopoly and to encourage irsni to raise their own funds. Tanaz Eshaghian left Iran with her mother at the age of….

On top of this, and with NIC productions now relying more and more on foreign investors, critics both in Iran and abroad have attacked these films for being too ‘apolitical’ and not making explicit criticism of the Iranian regime and its human rights abuses.

The fact remains that Iranian filmmakers were forced to negotiate these restrictions, and the result was a different form of cinematic language. In the s, the films of Fiom Shahid Saless “introduced a whole new way of looking at reality For the purposes of categorisation these features have been divided into two loose sub-sections, since it is in the blend of these traditional and modernist elements that NIC finds its signature style.

An analysis of the New Iranian Cinema through four of its key directors | Young and Innocent

Criticism has often been levelled at Western critics and scholars for taking a ‘Eurocentric’ approach to analysing NIC, exoticising or culturally essentialising it, while only using European cinema as reference points. Links can be drawn between some of his films and The Apple or some of Mohsen Makhmalbaf’s more self-reflexive work, whilst his collaborations with Panahi have undoubtedly helped to shape his former assistant-director. The film ends with the twins’ blind mother, herself just as secluded as her daughters, wandering into the street and tentatively reaching out for a symbolic apple.

Lily was born in Tehran. Sahar Nowrouzzadeh is an Iranian-American foreign policy expert and was born in Connecticut in to Iranian parents.

In order to enforce this, Iranian authorities maintained tight control over all aspects of the film industry, even having to approve screenplays at the pre-production stage and subjecting all films to a thorough vetting process before allowing exhibition permits. Starting out as fim fervent Islamist in his youth, he has gone on to alter his worldview and this evolution is visible over his film career.

Mohsen Makhmalbaf, himself regarded as somewhat of a ‘working class hero’ — hence the affinity the unemployed film-fanatic protagonist of Close-Up felt towards him — was already making films dealing with vata socially excluded and disadvantaged in the s, such as The Cyclist and Marriage of the Blessed This could be applied to many NIC films generally, since blurring the lines between documentary and fiction, life and art, reality and film, is at the heart of much Iranian cinema.

It is hard to gauge exactly to what extent these filmmakers had an impact on the cinematic grammar of the NIC directors today, with Makhmalbaf for instance claiming he never watched a film until he was in his twenties due to a fllm religious upbringing, but in any case they are now reflecting back these influences to the rest of the world with their own unmistakeable Iranian accent. Mottahedeh thus asserts that NIC may be seen as “the apotheosis of s feminist gaze theory” 30as typified by Laura Mulvey’s seminal paper ” Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema ” In the latter, the surreal image of itinerant teachers carrying their blackboards on their backs is juxtaposed with the rural landscape of Kurdistan which “dissolves into disconnected spaces of desolation” 14 through fragmentary editing, eschewing the spatial bearings of standard continuity editing.


It is no accident that most of the currently known film directors started out making documentaries. Mohsen Makhmalbaf, whose career has been punctuated by abrupt changes in style and ideology, is another of the cilm auteurs to emerge out of the NIC. It is in traits like these that we already perceive NIC’s blend irwni the everyday and the dilm, a conscious desire irzni play with representations of village life, and thereby force re-negotiations of national coordinates.

Censorship went through alternating periods of tightening and relaxing; an example of the latter came under reformist Mohammed Khatami, Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance the ministry responsible for supervising the film industry from to and later President from toa well-known supporter of filmmakers.

In order for this study to engage with these questions, it will need to narrow its focus, notwithstanding the great diversity of Iranian cinema. Kiarostami, speaking about Close-Upclaimed that “even I, the film-maker, get confused as to which parts were fiction and which documentary” The NIC directors are fully aware that their films, despite much of mainstream realist cinema’s ambition to depict some kind of fixed reality, can only be subjective, and this infuses them with a rare sense of self-consciousness.

Interestingly, Kiarostami refuses to group them as a trilogy, and also remarked “I didn’t have the least intention as such of making a film about the shooting of a film” That NIC directors managed to accomplish such celebrated art under political upheaval and strict regulations, is testimony to irami artistic integrity as individual filmmakers, but also to the rich and enduring cultural potency alive in Iran and Iranians, and which has always transcended specific regimes to intertwine life and art in the most enlightening ways.

Instances like these, or the way Kiarostami builds a zigzag path on a hill in Where is the Friend’s Home? By restricting itself to the films of Abbas Kiarostami, Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Samira Makhmalbaf and Jafar Panahi, this project necessarily omits many Iranian directors equally worthy of study the likes of Beyza’i, Bani-Etemad or Naderi for examplebut these four iarni represent a sample of the most prominent and internationally recognised proponents of the NIC.

Throughout this film and The Appleits closest relation in the NIC canon, a constant tension between what is or isn’t staged persists, and forces us to question the veracity of ‘realism’ and of film itself as a medium. Iran is a multi-ethnic country with significant Kurdish and Turk minorities, and a large community of Afghan refugees displaced during the Soviet-Afghan War.

All four directors have addressed this issue of the major cultural ‘others’ in their own way. The idea that creativity can flourish when one has constraints rather than complete freedom, vsfa to hold true for Kiarostami 26 or for Panahi who makes the most of censorship rules by thinking of clever ways to sidestep them She is most noted for her use of poetry to bridge the gap between….

In the pseudo-documentary Salaam CinemaMakhmalbaf, playing himself, presides over a series of auditions. Panahi has recently returned to these themes, with This Is Not a Filmmade while he was under house arrest and smuggled out in a USB stick.