A Social History of Iranian Cinema, Volume 3

The Islamicate Period, 1978–1984

A Social History of Iranian Cinema, Volume 3

Book Pages: 288 Illustrations: 42 illustrations, 8 tables Published: April 2012

Author: Hamid Naficy

Media Studies > Film, Middle East Studies, Postcolonial and Colonial Studies

Hamid Naficy is one of the world’s leading authorities on Iranian film, and A Social History of Iranian Cinema is his magnum opus. Covering the late nineteenth century to the early twenty-first and addressing documentaries, popular genres, and art films, it explains Iran’s peculiar cinematic production modes, as well as the role of cinema and media in shaping modernity and a modern national identity in Iran. This comprehensive social history unfolds across four volumes, each of which can be appreciated on its own.

In Volume 3, Naficy assesses the profound effects of the Islamic Revolution on Iran's cinema and film industry. Throughout the book, he uses the term Islamicate, rather than Islamic, to indicate that the values of the postrevolutionary state, culture, and cinema were informed not only by Islam but also by Persian traditions. Naficy examines documentary films made to record events prior to, during, and in the immediate aftermath of the revolution. He describes how certain institutions and individuals, including prerevolutionary cinema and filmmakers, were associated with the Pahlavi regime, the West, and modernity and therefore perceived as corrupt and immoral. Many of the nation's moviehouses were burned down. Prerevolutionary films were subject to strict review and often banned, to be replaced with films commensurate with Islamicate values. Filmmakers and entertainers were thrown out of the industry, exiled, imprisoned, and even executed. Yet, out of this revolutionary turmoil, an extraordinary Islamicate cinema and film culture emerged. Naficy traces its development and explains how Iran's long war with Iraq, the gendered segregation of space, and the imposition of the veil on women encouraged certain ideological and aesthetic trends in film and related media. Finally, he discusses the structural, administrative, and regulatory measures that helped to institutionalize the new evolving cinema.

A Social History of Iranian Cinema
Volume 1: The Artisanal Era, 1897–1941
Volume 2: The Industrializing Years, 1941–1978
Volume 3: The Islamicate Period, 1978–1984
Volume 4: The Globalizing Era, 1984–2010


“No review could do justice to the wealth of information Naficy has gathered and analyzed...Suffice to say that this volume of social history of the Islamicate period of Iranian cinema from 1978 to 1984 will undoubtedly remain, for many years to come, a must for scholars and students of Iranian cinematic culture and all aficionados, young and old, of Iranian cinema.” — Roxanne D. Marcotte, Middle East Media and Book Reviews

“This third volume of Hamid Naficy’s epic and authoritative Social History of Iranian Cinema is a goldmine of information for academics and researchers in the field of Iranian cinema. As detailed and as thorough as the previous two volumes, the renowned historian gives us an insight into some of the most turmoil-filled and sombre areas of the history of Iranian cinema.” — Michaël Abecassis, British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies

“The four volumes of A Social History of Iranian Cinema constitute a landmark achievement. . . . For students of Iranian cinema, I can think of no better place to begin than these four volumes. The sheer expansiveness of Naficy’s project is a testimony to the untold narratives, theoretical paradigms, and concepts waiting to be found in the ongoing history of Iranian cinema.” — Sara Saljoughi, International Journal of Middle East Studies

A Social History of Iranian Cinema is an extraordinary achievement, a scholarly, detailed work in which a massive amount of material is handled with the lightest touch. Yet it is Hamid Naficy’s personal experience and investment that give this project a particular distinction. Only a skilled historian, one who is on the inside of his story, could convey so vividly the symbolic significance of cinema for twentieth-century Iran and its deep intertwining with national culture and politics.” — Laura Mulvey, author of Death 24× a Second: Stillness and the Moving Image

“Hamid Naficy is already established as the doyen of historians as well as critics of Iranian cinema. This massive, detailed, as well as extremely scholarly critical history of Iranian cinema since its very foundation more than a century ago—based as it is on a good understanding of modern Iranian political and social history—is the crowning of all his highly instructive and informative works so far. Each of the volumes can be read separately as well as a part of this colossal critical narrative. To say that it is a must read for virtually all concerned with modern Iranian history, and not just cinema and the arts, is to state the obvious.” — Homa Katouzian, author of The Persians, Ancient, Mediaeval and Modern Iran

“Hamid Naficy seamlessly brings together a century of Iran’s cinematic history, marking its technological advancements and varying genres and storytelling techniques, and perceptively addressing its sociopolitical impact on the formation of Iran’s national identity. A Social History of Iranian Cinema is essential reading not only for the cinephile interested in Iran’s unique and rich cinematic history but also for anyone wanting a deeper understanding of the cataclysmic events and metamorphoses that have shaped Iran, from the pivotal Constitutional Revolution that ushered in the twentieth century, through the Islamic Revolution, and into the twenty-first century.” — Shirin Neshat, visual artist, filmmaker, and director of the film Women Without Men

“This magisterial four-volume study of Iranian cinema will be the defining work on the topic for a long time to come. Situating film within its sociopolitical context, Hamid Naficy covers the period leading up to the Constitutional Revolution and continues after the Islamic Revolution, examining questions about modernity, globalization, Islam, and feminism along the way. A Social History of Iranian Cinema is a guide for our thinking about cinema and society and the ways that the creative expression of film should be examined as part of a wider engagement with social issues.” — Annabelle Sreberny, coauthor of Blogistan: The Internet and Politics in Iran


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Hamid Naficy is Professor of Radio-Television-Film and the Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani Professor in Communication at Northwestern University. He is the author of An Accented Cinema: Exilic and Diasporic Filmmaking, The Making of Exile Cultures: Iranian Television in Los Angeles, and (in Persian) Film-e Mostanad, a two-volume history of nonfiction cinema around the world. Naficy helped to launch ongoing annual Iranian film festivals in Los Angeles and Houston.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Illustrations ix

Acknowledgments xiii

Organization of the Volumes xxi

A Word about Illustrations xxvii

Abbreviations xxix

1. Transition from "Cinema of Idolatry" to "Islamicate Cinema" 1

2. Documenting the Uprising, the Revolution, and the Emerging Opposition 47

3. Consolidating a New "Islamicate" Cinema and Film Culture 115

Appendix 189

Notes 195

Bibliography 217

Index 235
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Honorable Mention, 2013 Katherine Singer Kovacs Award (Society for Cinema and Media Studies)

Winner, 2012 Houshang Pourshariati Iranian Studies Book Award (presented by Middle East Studies Association)

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