Naj I hope you won’t mind this post!
[… under the iron rule of the mullahs, an Iranian woman receives the Nobel peace prize; two Iranian females become the first Muslim women to conquer Everest; a woman becomes the national car-racing champion amongst both men and women challengers in Iran; women occupy over 60% of the capacity of higher education centers; the feminist non-governmental organizations grow by over 400%; the international prize for technological innovation in Geneva goes to a provincial Iranian girl; and presidential candidates herald women’s issues in the election campaign… ]
This is an extract of Naj’s introduction to her essay: Beyond Tradition and Taboo, Women of Iranian Popular Cinema: Projection of Progress
She starts with a short history of the “encounter of Iranian society with feminism“, to later on “consider the cinematic representation of women as a gauge to the success of the Iranian women’s discourse of social equality and democracy.”
Her essay consists of the overview of three decades of cinema: the Revolution era, the War Period, the Reconstruction Era and the Reform Era.
She points out the emerging “rebellion” and “mobility” and asks questions about the “Future Direction”.
[…Here, we glimpsed at the image of progress made by women of Iranian cinema: from perdition to resurrection to revolution. This progress is owed in part to the readiness of the spectators for change and in part to the artists who have taken risks and have pushed the envelope of the viewer’s imagination and expectations beyond tradition and taboo. And from beneath the ‘hijab,’ which is meant to obscure a vision of femininity, the Iranian women are painting a striking figure of their identity that flickers through the darkness of the cinema theater and perhaps into the darkness beyond.] and much more…
In “Tales of Resilience” Naj reviews two very interesting movies:
[The Iranian Journey … a documentary … the story of Ma’soomeh, the first and only long-distance female bus driver of the Middle East in the year 1999.
The Ladies Room, … episodic self- narrations by odd characters that visit the ladies room in the Laleh Park.]
[…Although different in style and in form, Iranian Journey and The Ladies Room overlap in one message: that the Iranian women seek the sources of their strength from within. … these women parallel each other in a culture of determination and stubbornness that guides them through the hassles … and perils … of the life. I want to suggest that this culture is not feminine or feminist, nor is it exclusively Iranian or Middle Eastern. Nevertheless, these films do debunk certain notions about what it means to be a woman in Iran. After all, women have made these movies and an Iranian woman is writing about them, the feminine in them cannot be ignored.] … another blogging about 🙂
Naj has been kind enough to point out her other essay: Bahram Baizai …” one of the most enigmatic figures of the contemporary Iranian cultural scene“
P.S. The picture above, an old movie poster, has nothing to do with Naj’s essay!