Essay online Women in Post-Revolutionary Iranian Cinema

Women successfully acted as film directors. The most famous women directors of feature films in post-revolutionary Iranian cinema were Tahmineh Ardekani, Ferual Behzad, Rakhshan Bani-E’temad, Takmineh Milani, Puran Derakhshandeh, Kobra Sa’idi, and Marziyeh Borumand. In their works, women directors refer to all women in Iran and discuss their problems.  For example, Rakhshan Bani-E’temad in her first feature film Off the Limit, portrays a woman who is so confined to her domestic environment that her husband prefers to do shopping himself. In her second film Canary Yellow, she depicts a strong and powerful woman, a good mother and wife and a weak and naïve man, the head of the family. In the film Narges, Rakhshan Bani-E’temad depicts love triangle with a man and two women. She tries to explore love relations and personal problems of women. It is found that Rakhshan Bani-E’temad won the first prize in the 1992 Fair Film Festival for directing Narges (Naficy 135). She was the first woman director in the history of Iranian cinematography who was awarded for the feature film. Her style is designated as social realism in which there are many satirical scenes.  One more well-known woman director of post-revolutionary Iranian cinema is Puran Derakhshandeh. In her films, she pays special attention to educational matters and depicts women as active and progressive elements of Iranian society (Bassiri 1). In her film Relation, a young girl has some problem in hearing and speech, and is treated badly by her neighbors and friends, but she is supported by his mother. Due to her mother’s sacrifice, the girl is cured of her physical handicap and succeeds to communicate with other people. It is found that Puran Derakhshandeh’s style of film-making is psychological realism. Most of her films discuss the theme of lack of communication, psychological problems of women, etc. The other famous woman who has already proved her talent as a film director is Tahmineh Milani. In her film Legend of the Sigh, she discusses the life of women intellectuals. The film proves that under some circumstances a woman in Iranian society may be helpless, dependent and humiliated person.

Hamid Naficy states that while women’s presence as directors is impressive, women are underrepresented in many technical areas of the film industry such as production, distribution and exhibition (135). It is found that the presence of women in Iranian cinema of post-revolutionary period was influenced by persistent negotiations between the government officials, film-makers and spectators. Moreover, an important role was given to the institutionalization of modesty in post-revolutionary Iranian cinema that resisted the expression of human emotions, feelings and intimacy between women and men (Zeydabadi-Nejad 23).  It is interested to notice that some scenes that showed men and women alone engaged in conversation were coded by the spectators as intimate scenes of love (Naficy 149). It means that some innocent shot was charged with sexuality.

To sum up, women in post-revolutionary Iranian cinema were given more freedom. They were not only allowed to film, but also they were allowed to act as film directors. Women film directors discussed many acute issues in their films, such as psychological problems of women in Iranian society, the relationships between men and women and other important themes. However, they had to abide by the code of modesty. Many films were criticized by the government officials or religious organizations.


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