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Asghar Farhadi’s nuanced feminism: Gender and marriage in Farhadi’s films from Dancing in the Dust to A Separation

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Aiming to contribute towards studies of gender in Iranian cinema, this article draws on feminist and masculinities theories to examine representations of gender in the films of Iranian director Asghar Farhadi, including his first Academy Awardwinning film, A Separation. While most literature on gender in Iranian cinema equates gender with femininity and women, I show that foregrounding men and masculinities in the analysis of Farhadi’s films enhances our understanding of his films’ feminist concerns and of the underlying structures of gender in current Iranian society, as represented in these films. Furthermore, I argue that theories of masculinity can help in expanding the corpus of Iranian feminist cinematography. In current accounts of Iranian feminist cinema, scholars refer to well-known sets of films that mostly feature female leads; however, reading Farhadi’s movies in light of masculinities theories shows that even though the films focus on both men and women, a nuanced feminism has been ever present in his works.
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Keywords: Asghar Farhadi; Iranian feminist cinema; critical masculinities studies; gender; marriage; masculinity

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of British Columbia

Publication date: April 1, 2019

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  • Asian Cinema is a seminal journal, which has been published since 1995 by the Asian Cinema Studies Society under the stewardship of Professor John Lent. From 2012 Asian Cinema will be published by Intellect as part of our Film Studies journal portfolio. The journal currently publishes a variety of scholarly material - including research articles, interviews, book and film reviews and bibliographies - on all forms and aspects of Asian cinema. The journal's broad aim is to advance understanding and knowledge of the rich traditions of the various Asian cinemas, thereby making an invaluable contribution to the field of Film Studies in general.
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