Persian Cinema Near and Far: Creativity and Controversy

The Persian International Film Festival is now the largest festival dedicated to showcasing Persian films from Iran, Afghanistan and beyond. Join Professor Shohini Chaudhuri, Dr Michelle Langford and Dr Mahsa Salamati as they explore some of the ways that these filmmakers have approached questions of creativity. Along side this, they will look at some of the controversies that have emerged as these films have circulated the globe.

Time: Sunday 08 December 10:30 AM
Place: Palace Central
Cost: Free (RSVP Essential)

Dr Michelle Langford

Michelle Langford is Senior Lecturer in Film Studies in the School of the Arts and Media at the University of New South Wales, Sydney. Her research spans the cinemas of Iran and Germany. Her research on Iranian cinema has focussed on gender, allegory and aesthetics and had appeared in leading film studies journals including Camera Obscura, Screen and Screening the Past. Her forthcoming book is entitled Allegory in Iranian Cinema: The Aesthetics of Poetry and Resistance (Bloomsbury). Her current research project looks at the German films of Iranian filmmaker Sohrab Shahid Saless.

Professor Shohini Chaudhuri

Shohini Chaudhuri is a Professor in the Department of Film and Theatre Studies at the University of Essex. Professor Chaudhuri’s main research and teaching area is World Cinema, with particular interests in film and human rights, film-philosophy, feminist and postcolonial theory. Her work develops transnational and comparative frameworks to explore links between different film cultures. She has written three books including Cinema of the Dark Side: Atrocity and the Ethics of Film Spectatorship (2014) and her current research seeks to transform our understanding of freedom of expression by exploring creativity and constraint in contemporary filmmaking in Iran and the Arab World. 

Dr Mahsa Salamati

Mahsa Salamati completed her PhD in Film Studies at the University of New South Wales. Her research is concerned with the dynamics and politics of transnational film circulation in the Iranian context. Her work focuses on cultural policies, the international film festival circuit and piracy. Mahsa is also the programs coordinator at Persian Film Festival.


Time: Sunday 08 December 11:30 AM
Place: Palace Central
Cost: Cost: Free (RSVP Essential)

The Persian Film Festival is pleased to celebrate the launch of Michelle Langford’s new book, Allegory in Iranian Cinema: The Aesthetics of Poetry and Resistance (Bloomsbury, 2019).


Iranian filmmakers have long been recognised for creating a vibrant, aesthetically rich cinema whilst working under strict state censorship regulations. As Michelle Langford reveals, many have found indirect, allegorical ways of expressing forbidden topics and issues in their films. But for many, allegory is much more than a foil against haphazardly applied censorship rules. Drawing on a long history of allegorical expression in Persian poetry and the arts, allegory has become an integral part of the poetics of Iranian cinema. Allegory in Iranian Cinema explores the allegorical aesthetics of Iranian cinema, explaining how it has emerged from deep cultural traditions and how it functions as a strategy for both supporting and resisting dominant ideology. Allegory in Iranian Cinema explains how a centuries-old means of expression, interpretation, encoding and decoding becomes, in the hands of Iran’s most skilled cineastes, a powerful tool with which to critique and challenge social and cultural norms.


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