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Thirteenth Biennial Iranian Studies Conference

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference -Mixed Audience


Politics of inclusion: representation of minorities in Iranian cinema

For a country of multitude of languages and ethnic backgrounds, inclusion of languages other than Persian, i.e. representing the ethnic minorities in Iranian cinema had been very minimal up until the turn of the 21st century. One of the only genres that did systematically include minorities was the 1980s and 1990s war films. Especially those films that hoped to mobilise ‘all’ Iranians to defend their country against the common enemy. Unfortunately, even if films did include characters that naturally spoke other languages than Persian at home, would only employ some stereotypical phrases here and there to set their characters, for instance as ‘Azari’ or ‘Kurd’ and then they would speak Persian for the rest of the film. They even spoke Persian in what is commonly known as Tehran accent and did not speak Persian with their regional accept. However, this has changed since 2000 due to both decentralisation of cinema from Tehran to other cities and through allowing characters speak their mother tongue even if they reside in Tehran. Now in the recent years films have partial Persian subtitles when characters speak their mother tongue. This can perhaps be explained due to several cultural and political changes in the institution Iranian cinema in response to political changes in the country.
This paper will focus on two recently released films with very different genres: The Pig (Mani Haghighi, 2018) and I am not angry! (Reza Dormishian, 2014 – released 2018) to address this shift in including and representing minorities as not just a narrative device for propaganda purposes but as a realistic means of representation of the plural Iranian society.

Event (Conference)

TitleThirteenth Biennial Iranian Studies Conference
Abbreviated titleAIS Conference
LocationUniversity of Salamanca
Degree of recognitionInternational event