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    DON’T LOOK AT THE CAMERA: JAFAR PANAHI AND HIS SELF-REFLEXIVE CINEMA  

MUBASHIR KARIM

PH.D. RESEARCH SCHOLAR

JAMIA MILLIA ISLAMIA

 

All art is autobiographical – the pearl is the oyster’s autobiography.

-Federico Fellini[1]

After Panahi’s 2015 movie Taxi received a Golden Bear Award at Berlin Film Festival the head of the government funded film organization of Iran Hojattollah Ayubi offered somewhat a mixed response towards the movie. While obviously criticizing the movie about spreading “misunderstanding” about the Iranian society he also was somehow “delighted to announce that the director of Taxi continues to drive in the fast lane of his life, freely enjoying all of its blessings.”[2] This remark at once celebrates and criticizes Panahi’s filmmaking ventures. It seems as if the government of Iran is deliberately restricting and simultaneously giving Panahi access to certain limits of freedom so as to draw out certain cinematic misadventures which could or couldn’t have been possible otherwise. But this binary trajectory as such gives more power to the authorities than to the artist and hence can be flawed if not insignificant.

[1] Quoted in Hamid Dabashi’s Masters & Masterpieces of Iranian Cinema.

journal of english

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2017-06-28T11:53:42+00:00
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