Often described as one of Iran's premier film directors, Rakhshan Bani-Etemad is celebrated for her contribution to the country's cinema. She excels in representing contemporary situations, often in relation to the changing roles of women but also covering a broad spectrum of social issues, including war, poverty, domestic abuse, and class mobility. In her most recent film, Tales (2014), she seamlessly intersects seven different stories. In these narratives, Banietemad's most memorable women characters once again take the stage, reminding audiences of the historical and cultural significance of her previous films and how she has shaped the history of Iranian cinema in terms of the representation of women. Banietemad's characters embody a sense of nostalgia, in that women like Tooba (Golab Adineh), Nobar (Fatemah Motamed-Aria), and Sara (Baran Kosari) have become iconic. Yet in revisiting these characters, they are rewritten, re-described, and reinvigorated in dialogue with Iran's present. An oral history of Rakhshan Banietemad's career offers a rich lens into Iranian cinema and culture over nearly three decades.
An Interview with Rakhshan Banietemad
Kay Armatage is professor emerita, Cinema Studies Institute and Women and Gender Studies Institute, University of Toronto. She is the author of The Girl From God's Country: Nell Shipman and the Silent Cinema (2003, University of Toronto Press), coeditor of Gendering the Nation: Canadian Women's Cinema (1999, University of Toronto Press), and director of Artist on Fire: The Work of Joyce Wieland (1987, Dominion Pictures). A former international programmer for the Toronto International Film Festival, she is now on the board of Women in View, an advocacy organization for racial and gender equity in Canadian media.
Zahra Khosroshahi is a PhD candidate, School of Art, Media and American Studies at the University of East Anglia, presently completing her dissertation on visual representations of women in contemporary Iranian cinema. She is also interested in how Iran's cinematic movements and productions respond to the country's social conditions, and how visual culture, specifically cinema, provides a platform for resistance and activism.
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Kay Armatage, Zahra Khosroshahi; An Interview with Rakhshan Banietemad. Feminist Media Histories 1 January 2017; 3 (1): 140–155. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/fmh.2017.3.1.140
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