This tag is associated with 12 posts

Curtains of Iron or Curtains of Silk? Soviet Artwork in Conversation with West and South Asia

The post-Soviet art of Central Asia and the Caucasus comes out of a Soviet-era conversation of artistic styles that looks not just to Moscow but also to Mecca. An understanding of the high and low registers of this Soviet cultural heritage allows the humor and self-confidence of the work to be appreciated — aesthetically as well as financially — by audiences. Continue reading »

From Tehran to Newcastle: “I Am Nasrine” and the Politics of Telling Migrant Narratives

I am Nasrine is the tale of two Iranian siblings who migrate to England and find a world of rampant discrimination that looks little like what they expected. The tragedy of the film is not one that can be easily limited to English housing estates or the plight of Iranian emigres. Indeed, this tale of migrant survival and struggle is far more universal, a searing indictment of the limits of liberalism and the failure of international and local humanitarian bureaucracies — as well as receiving societies as a whole — to effectively understand migrants as complex human beings. Continue reading »

A Year in Ajam: Revisiting Our Best Articles of 2013

In 2013, we covered a wide variety of topics ranging from gender and sexuality politics in contemporary Iranian cinema to the attractions of Zionism to Iran’s pre-revolutionary elites, provoking a great deal of controversy along the way. Check out our ten most-viewed articles from 2013.
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Internalized Colonial Narratives in Pakistani Cinema: Liberalism, “Good Muslims,” and the War on Terror

As a cultural production with a decidedly liberal agenda, Khuda Ke Liye’s failure to challenge the conflation of Islamic religious conservatism with misogyny and anti-Americanism, and the converse equation of liberalism with feminism and pacifism vis-à-vis the U.S., highlights an internalization of the War on Terror narrative among many Pakistani liberals. Continue reading »

A Fistful of Rials: Morality and Iranian Cowboy Masculinities in a Shirazi Western

Kamran Heidari chooses an unusual genre to depict his Iranian cowboy: a Western documentary. In his humanizing portrait of a Shirazi cowboy-cum-director, Heidari successfully weaves the bizarre, the unexpected, and the hilarious to tell a tale of an Iranian cowboy masculinity and the unexpected world it inhabits. Continue reading »

Queer and Trans Subjects in Iranian Cinema: Between Representation, Agency, and Orientalist Fantasies

Historically, some Europeans have fantasized about the closed-door sexual lives of Middle Easterners, especially homosocial spaces and same-sex relations. The movie Circumstance has received relatively positive public reception in the West due to this conformity to Western Orientalist imaginaries; Facing Mirrors challenges the hegemonic and Orientalizing narrative of Iran’s sexual and gender minorities, and is thus ignored from the cultural public domain. Continue reading »

Çanakkale: Historical Memory in the Making

This piece was originally published on The Tuqay before it became part of Ajam Media Collective. One of the most striking visuals that greets a visitor passing through the Dardanelles Strait (known in Turkish as the Çanakkle Boğazı) is this fragment of Turkish verse carved into the hillside: Dur yolcu! Bilmeden gelip bastığın, Bu toprak, bir devrin … Continue reading »

Politics of the Iranian Box Office: Mocking the Morality Police and Green Movement Conspiracies

Over the last few decades, Iranian cinema has burst onto the global stage, earning worldwide acclaim and, most recently, a Golden Globe and an Oscar. No major film festival is complete without at least one Iranian film these days, and it’s no longer hyperbole to suggest that the Iranian film vies against the Persian carpet … Continue reading »

Far From Home: Portrayals of the Afghan Refugee in Iranian Cinema

Part II of a series on Afghan Refugees in Iran. Earlier this month, I completed a post discussing how works of literature from prominent Afghan writers voiced the conditions of millions of undocumented Afghan refugees residing in Iran. These members of the Afghan diaspora have been able to draw upon their own personal accounts as … Continue reading »

Iran's "A Separation" Wins Big at Golden Globes [& the Oscars!]

Last night at the Golden Globe Awards, Iran’s entry for Best Foreign Language Film, “A Separation (Jodaeiye Nader az Simin)” took home the coveted prize. The film has been generating buzz ever since its premiere at the Berlin Film Festival last February, and last night’s win positions the film for a successful showing at the Oscars … Continue reading »

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