Cease Fire: Rethinking Iranian Cinema through Its Mainstream

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Abstract:

Tahmineh Milani's 2006 film Cease Fire was the highest grossing film of all time in Iran. This article suggests that the study of popular cinema from Iran, formerly dismissed by scholars as unworthy of academic study, can help Western critics and scholars to better understand both Iran and its cinema. This is because popular Iranian cinema in general, and Cease Fire in particular, can offer up alternative views of Iranian society, particularly of Iran's middle classes. All too often, Iran's middle classes do not appear in the Iranian ‘art house’ cinema that typically receives most coverage in the West. And yet, given Cease Fire's popularity, the film obviously appeals to a significant (affluent and/or aspirant) section of Iranian society. Furthermore, the article presents evidence that Cease Fire is not a piece of ‘mere’ generic film-making, but that it involves an intelligent (and intertextual) mise-en-scène, reaffirming Iran's mainstream cinema as worthy of greater academic consideration.
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