Monday, September 05, 2011

Books on Iranian Cinema

I had been in the past fascinated with the work of Hamid Dabashi, an Iranian-born American professor of Iranian Studies at Columbia who had written one polemic book about Islamic liberation theology, in which he argued that Islamic resistance to imperialism and colonialism of the American kind was a form of liberation theology, coupled with the rise of conservatism inside Shia Islam. A very arguable and radically controversial thesis that nonetheless is thought-provoking when proposed with wealth of materials and arguments. However I found out that he also wrote two very important texts on Iranian cinema, topic about which, I had been trying to locate materials for a long time. The books provide an unparalleled wealth of sources, critical commentary, interviews and historical material on Iranian cinema that will please, inform and entertain all of those who have come to love somehow the magic of Iranian film. 

Close Up: Iranian Cinema, Past, Present & Future

Hamid Dabashi
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Verso (November 2001)
Language: English

Abbas Kiarostami planted Iran firmly on the map of world cinema when he won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes film festival for his film A Taste of Cherry in 1997. In this book Hamid Dabashi examines the growing reputation of Iranian cinema from its origins in the films of Kimiyai and Mehrjui, through the work of established directors such as Kiarostami, Beyzai and Bani-Etemad, to young filmmakers like Samira Makhmalbaf and Bahman Qobadi, who triumphed at the Cannes 2000 festival. Dabashi combines exclusive interviews with directors, detailed and insightful commentary, critical cultural context, an extensive filmography, and generous illustration to provide an indispensable guide to a globally celebrated but little-studied cinematic genre. 

Masters & Masterpieces of Iranian Cinema

Hamid Dabashi
Hardcover: 456 pages
Publisher: Mage Publishers (May 15, 2007)
Language: English

The rise of Iranian cinema to world prominence over the last few decades is one of the most fascinating cultural stories of our time. There is scarcely an international film festival anywhere that does not honor the aesthetic and political explorations of Iranian artists. Three generations of filmmakers--from Bahram Beiza'i to Mohsen Makhmalbaf to his daughter Samira Makhmalbaf--are all active today, creating works of spectacular range and depth. In Europe and in North America, in Asia and in Latin America, in Australia and Africa, the thematic and narrative richness of Iranian cinema has met with tremendous acclaim. Indeed, its particular mode of realism--building on such cinematic antecedents as Italian, French and German neo-realism--has become truly trans-national, contributing a new visual vocabulary to filmmaking everywhere. "Masters and Masterpieces of Iranian Cinema is narrated around fifteen of the best Iranian filmmakers of the past half-century and takes a close look at both their lives and their greatest works. In his vivid account, Hamid Dabashi explains how--despite the censorship of both the Pahlavi monarchy and the Khomeini Islamic Republic--the creativity of these filmmakers has transcended national and cultural borders. The author explores the rise and ascendancy of Iranian cinema in the more general context of modern Iranian intellectual history. He delves into the roots of Iranian cinema in Persian poetry and fiction and examines ways in which a rich cinematic tradition has been nourished. The book also studies the role that prominent film festivals have played in fostering the global success of Iranian cinema and it investigates the reception of these films withinIran, an intriguing story in its own right.

No comments: