Friday 8 April 2016

The Contemporary Iranian Cinema, a Course in Cambridge

With every possible international award harvested within the last two decades, Iranian cinema remains one of the most richly complex and remarkably innovative national cinemas in the world, even if its stories tend to be deceptively simple. It’s a cinema of subtle, often symbolic and humanist observations which manages to marry poetry and politics.

The CONTEMPORARY IRANIAN CINEMA is a day-long course, offering both general history and close analysis of a wide range of Iranian films, from state-sponsored industry to lively underground scene. Accompanied by an abundance of film clips, the course will tackle on keys subjects such as narrative styles of Iranian cinema, genres, women’s cinema, and documentary films. Focusing on both the prominent figures and the younger and emerging talents, the course goes beyond the geographical borders and traces Iranian cinema in exile or in international co-productions which are becoming part of the new identity of Iranian films.

It was only last year that Jafar Panahai’s Taxi Tehran, shot entirely with a small digital camera fixed on a taxi’s dashboard, won the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival, a prize given to a filmmaker who was not even allowed to make a new film. But why Taxi and similar Iranian films have been so successful? The course is a journey through Iranian art, culture and recent history to answer that question.