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Cultural frontiers: women directors in post-revolutionary New Wave Iranian cinema

Chan, Amanda (2016) Cultural frontiers: women directors in post-revolutionary New Wave Iranian cinema. Undergraduate Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Iranian New Wave Cinema (1969 to present) has risen to international fame, especially in post-revolutionary years, for its social realist themes and contribution to national identity. This film movement boasts a number of successful women directors, whose films have impressed audiences and film festivals worldwide. This study examines the works of three Iranian women directors, Rakhshan Bani-Etemad, Tamineh Milani, and Samira Makhmalbaf, for their films’ social, political, and cultural themes and commentary while also investigating the directors’ techniques in managing censorship codes that regulate their production and content. Importantly, these women directors must also navigate the Islamic Republic’s Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance’s censorship laws, which dictate that challenging the government’s law or Islamic law is illegal and punishable.

These women directors make films that highlight the issues and social status of Iranian women, the working class, and the under-privileged; they touch upon motherhood, love, marriage, abuse, war, and more. Moreover, they are social films that compose the genre of “women’s films,” though the characters and filmmakers are both men and women.

While scholars have looked at the way Iranian women directors challenging both the traditional, one-dimensional representations of women in cinema, such as those in filmfarsi, this research draws upon feminist theory to argue that women directors utilize a number of strategies to elude or challenge censorship codes, which range from creative shooting to simply skipping the censorship review process altogether. Films by Iranian women directors reject the Orientalist conception of Iranian women as Muslim women who are prisoners of their culture and society.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Chan, Amandaatc42@pitt.eduATC42
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairCohen,
Committee MemberBishop,
Committee MemberPatterson,
Committee MemberSarah,
Date: 19 August 2016
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 8 April 2016
Approval Date: 19 August 2016
Submission Date: 20 April 2016
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 105
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: David C. Frederick Honors College
Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Sociology
Degree: BPhil - Bachelor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Undergraduate Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: iran, feminism, new wave, directors, film, cinema, tamineh milani, tahmineh milani, rakhshan, bani-etemad, bani etemad, samira, makhmalbaf, the apple, the hidden half, two women, the fifth reaction, at five in the afternoon, blackboards, the blue veil, the may lady, under the skin of the city
Date Deposited: 19 Aug 2016 17:13
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 14:32


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