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The Notion of ‘Trans/National’ in Iranian Cinema

Research output: Contribution to conference - Without ISBN/ISSN Conference paperpeer-review

Publication date5/08/2016
<mark>Original language</mark>English
EventEleventh Biennial Iranian Studies Conference - https://associationforiranianstudies.org/conferences/2016, Vienna, Austria
Duration: 2/08/20165/08/2016
Conference number: 11


ConferenceEleventh Biennial Iranian Studies Conference
Abbreviated titleIranian Studies Conference


The concept of ‘national’ cinema has increasingly been questioned across contemporary scholarship in a globalised era and the focus has shifted towards the concept of ‘transnational’ instead. While the notion of transnational cinema has emerged in response to the perceived insufficiencies of existing categories such as ‘national’ cinema, in and by itself it is not sufficient either. There is almost no consensus over the exact definition and the discourse of ‘transnational cinema’, which raises questions such as what makes a film transnational, and are all or only some films transnational?

There is a degree of ‘national’ in all films and is no conflict between the two terms ‘national’ and ‘transnational’. As Debora Shaw argues in her paper on “Deconstructing and Reconstructing ‘Transnational Cinema’”, “there is a link between national identities and storytelling at the heart of cinema, even when we take on board all the nuances and questioning of the national that transnational critical approaches have brought.” Although films may not offer the truth about a nation, they do have something to say about the way national identities are constructed. It is through negotiation and crossing borders that transnational elements are built into national elements. This paper will look at Iranian cinema since the 1990s with a specific focus on Asghar Farhadi’s films including “The Salesman” to discuss and compare the advantages and disadvantages of adapting either of the two terminologies ‘national’ and ‘transnational’ in relation to the discourse of Iranian cinema in a global age.