Volume 10, Issue 7 / July 2006

Women and Iranian Cinema

For this special thematic issue Offscreen focuses on Iranian cinema and women’s issues. The latter comes largely courtesy of the independent distribution company Women Make Movies, who have been promoting and distributing films and videos made by women since 1972. Leading the issue off is Najmeh Khalili Mahani’s essay which analayzes the social framework of the representation of women in popular Iranian cinema from both an industrial and cultural context. Donato Totaro follows with his essay on two documentaries which expose the effects of rigid patriarchal systems of control on women in Israel and India. Mahani returns for the third essay examining two Iranian documentaries which take different stylistic approaches to women’s role in Iran society. Up next is Gilda Boffa’ s essay, which approaches Mohsen Mahkmalbaf’s film a Time of Love with a metaphysical rather than political perspective, by analyzing how Mahkmalbaf incorporates the apparent contradictions of Sufi religion into the film’s philosophical arguments. Following with a philosophical perspective is David Durnell’s theoretical unravelling of the controversial film by France’s leading ‘enfant terrible’ Catherine Breillat, Anatomy of Hell, which continues her intense and frank exploration of female desire and sexuality.

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