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Close Up:Iranian Cinema: Past, Present and Future

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“The indispensable work on one of the most extraordinary artistic and social adventures of our time.” —Edward W. Said

Abbas Kiraostami planted Iran firmly on the map of world cinema when he won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes film festival in 1997 for his film A Taste of Cherry. In this book Hamid Dabashi examines the growing reputation of Iranian cinema from its origines in the films of Kimiyai and Mehrjui, through the work of established directors such as Kiraostami, Beyzai and Bani-Etemad, to young film-makers 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 globally celebrated but little-studied cinematic genre.
Unabashedly polemical, he dissects the idea of the oriental in western perceptions of Iranian cinema and details the way that film festivals and distribution in the west have shaped domestic output in Iran. He looks, too, at the particular difficulties faced by women film-makers in a country of Islamic orthodoxy, and the obstacles placed in the path of directors attempting to introduce dissident politics in their work.


  • Hamid Dabashi’s learned book on Iranian cinema in the era of globalization sparkles with verve and a sometimes punishing wit. Encyclopedic in scope, informal in tone, shrewd in its interpretation, it is the indispensable work on one of the most extraordinary artistic and social adventures of our time. Dabashi is the perfect guide.

    Edward W. Said
  • With Hamid Dabashi’s new book, we finally have a reading of the post-Revolutionary Iranian cinema from within Iranian culture and society. Dabashi traces the deep roots of the work of filmmakers such as Abbas Kiarostami, Mohsen Makhmalbaf and Rakshan Bani-Etemad, and shows how their work opens up a fascinating and far-reaching interrogation of contemporary cultural production.

    Richard Peña
  • A better understanding of Iranian cinema needed someone as much aware of its global significance as knowledgeable of its immediate social roots—Hamid Dabashi is one of those rare cultural critics who has been able to add such a perspective.

    Mohsen Makhmalbaf