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Reflexivity in Recent Iranian Cinema: The Case of Mohsen Makhmalbaf

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My intention in this essay is to analyze the use of reflexivity in the films of director Mohsen Makhmalbaf, within the context of recent Iranian cinema. To begin, filmic reflexivity is marked by the following elements: -foregrounding the mode of production through a formal or stylistic gesture (such as the use of an iris effect to refer to silent film) or through stylistic virtuosity; -foregrounding the mode of production by revealing the cinema apparatus (i.e., presence of the camera, light poles, clapper, etc.); -exposing the artist as the maker of meaning in any of the two ways above or by referencing the artist's own life history; -alluding to previous films or filmmakers, to either announce a source of influence, to pay homage, or to add a layer of meaning to the film's text.
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Keywords: Iranian cinema; Mohsen Makhmalbaf; anti-illusionism; intertextual; reflexivity; self-referential

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Warwick

Publication date: September 1, 2000

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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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