Negotiating the Forbidden: On Women and Sexual Love in Iranian Cinema

Negotiating the Forbidden: On Women and Sexual Love in Iranian Cinema Zibair-Hosseini omen and sexual love are time-honored — but problematic — themes in Iranian cinema. Soon after the 1979 revolution and the eablishment of the Islamic Republic in Iran, these themes were forced into the raitjacket of Islami ideology and Islamic jurisprudence ( fiqh ), which allowed little room for representations of current social realities. The authorities iosed hejab (a dress code) and sexual segregation, and the public presence of women and the expression of sexual love became highly reted. For almo a decade, Iranian filmgoers would look in vain for screen depictions of women and love. Gradually, however, both came out of the shadows; and by the late 1990s, they were once again leading — if highly controversial — themes in the Iranian cinema. In this essay I explore these developments through a discussion of three films, which in different ways were landmarks in the passage out of the shadows and became the focus of heated debates for their transgression of the rules. They are Abdolhossein Sepanta’s The Lor Girl (Dokhtar-e Lor ; 1933), Mohsen Makhmalbaf’s A Time to Love (Nowbat-e ‘Asheqi ; 1991), and Behrouz Afkhami’s Hemlock (Showkaran; 2000). I argue that the problem of the http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East Duke University Press

Negotiating the Forbidden: On Women and Sexual Love in Iranian Cinema

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
© 2007 by Duke University Press
ISSN
1089-201X
eISSN
1089-201X
DOI
10.1215/1089201x-2007-042
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Zibair-Hosseini omen and sexual love are time-honored — but problematic — themes in Iranian cinema. Soon after the 1979 revolution and the eablishment of the Islamic Republic in Iran, these themes were forced into the raitjacket of Islami ideology and Islamic jurisprudence ( fiqh ), which allowed little room for representations of current social realities. The authorities iosed hejab (a dress code) and sexual segregation, and the public presence of women and the expression of sexual love became highly reted. For almo a decade, Iranian filmgoers would look in vain for screen depictions of women and love. Gradually, however, both came out of the shadows; and by the late 1990s, they were once again leading — if highly controversial — themes in the Iranian cinema. In this essay I explore these developments through a discussion of three films, which in different ways were landmarks in the passage out of the shadows and became the focus of heated debates for their transgression of the rules. They are Abdolhossein Sepanta’s The Lor Girl (Dokhtar-e Lor ; 1933), Mohsen Makhmalbaf’s A Time to Love (Nowbat-e ‘Asheqi ; 1991), and Behrouz Afkhami’s Hemlock (Showkaran; 2000). I argue that the problem of the

Journal

Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle EastDuke University Press

Published: Jan 1, 2007

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