Date of Graduation

8-2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies (MA)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Graduate School

Advisor

Frank Scheide

Committee Member

M. K. Booker

Second Committee Member

Mohja Kahf

Abstract

From Mahvash, the Iranian entertainer who sang and danced coquettishly in numerous Iranian films that were produced before the Islamic revolution of 1979, to the skateboarding vampire girl who makes a feast out of abusive men in Ana Lily Amirpour’s A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, the representation of Iranian women on screen has changed drastically. This comparative study focuses on the politics of representation of Iranian women in the cinema before and after the Islamic revolution, with the aim of deconstructing the readily-available notions of women’s oppression in Iran. It analyzes the works of female Iranian directors Forough Farrokhzad, Samira Makhmalbaf, Rakhshan Bani-E’temad, Tahmineh Milani, Marjane Satrapi, and Ana Lily Amirpour, using the theoretical framework of the Islamicate gaze theory and accented cinema, while taking into consideration the different interpretations of third world cinema, women’s cinema, and national cinema. At the intersection of all of these theoretical frameworks, is Iranian women’s cinema. It is revealed that the transforming depiction of women on screen is due primarily to the socio-economic and political conditions of the country, but also to the fact that there is a growing number of female directors who are tackling women’s issues and depicting women realistically on the screen.

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