Marva Nabili's The Sealed Soil (1977) is one of the few feature films made by a woman in Iran prior to the 1979 Iranian Revolution. This article argues that the film inaugurated the “distanced look” that most scholars attribute to Iranian art cinema made after 1979. Through a reading of the film's thematic and formal articulations of refusal, the essay claims that this work can open new readings of the relationship between aesthetics and politics in Iranian cinema.

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