The Acoustic Screen: The Dynamics of the Female Look and Voice in Abbas Kiarostami’s Shirin

Najmeh Moradiyan Rizi

Abstract


Since the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran, the representation of women in post-revolutionary Iranian cinema has been one of the main concerns of Iranian officials. This concern caused the enforcement of cinematic restrictions on Iranian cinema in 1982, known as the Islamic Codes of Modesty. The prohibition of the close-ups of women’s faces was one of these cinematic limitations. Since then, Iranian filmmakers have used a great amount of creativity in their films to not only represent Iranian women on the screen, but also to criticize the gender-segregated laws of Iran. Their creativity and efforts have gradually challenged and changed the modesty regulations. Abbas Kiarostami’s film, Shirin (2008), stands out in this regard as the film provides an unprecedented portrayal of Iranian women through the use of close-up shots of 114 actresses throughout the film. This paper examines the aesthetics and politics of Kiarostami’s cinema through a feminist analysis of Shirin in order to locate Kiarostami’s film within a larger socio-cultural context of Iran. The main focus of this study, therefore, is to show how Kiarostami uses the cinematic apparatus to highlight female subjectivity not only in literary and cinematic platforms, but also in Iran’s history and society.

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Filmography

Abi and Rabi (Abi va Rabi). Dir. Ovanes Ohanian, 1930.

Brother’s Revenge (Entegham-e baradar). Dir. Ebrahim Moradi, 1931.

Copie conforme (Certified Copy). Dir. Abbas Kiarostami, 2010.

Shirin. Dir. Abbas Kiarostami, 2008.

Taste of Cherry (Ta’m-e gilas). Dir. Abbas Kiarostami, 1997.

Ten (Dah). Dir. Abbas Kiarostami, 2002.

The Lor Girl (Dokhtar-e Lor). Dir. Ardeshir Irani,1933.

The Wind Will Carry Us (Bad ma ra khahad bord). Dir. Abbas Kiarostami, 1999.


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