Urban Imagination and the Cinema of Jafar Panahi

Sarah Niazi


The city in Iranian cinema acquires a character of its own. This paper through the exploration of the fabric of Jafar Panahi’s films attempts to evaluate the claims of this statement and deduce in his cinema an ‘aesthetic of veiling’1 as a narrative and enunciative coordinate that defines the post- revolutionary cinema in Iran. Working through a Benjaminian analysis of the urban experience located in the flaneur; the essay will attempt to understand the cinematic flanerie of Panahi’s camera, the perceptual prowess of his children in The White Balloon (1995) and The Mirror (1997) and the adventures of his flaneuse in The Circle (2000) and Offside (2006) as a desire to map the experiential realm of Tehran that is located within the marvellously mundane and the monumental everyday.


jafar panahi, iranian cinema, aesthetics of veiling, cinema, films

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