Representation of women in cinema

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Representation of women in cinema

Of course, everyone knows that Hollywood has a penchant for creating hyper-sexualised representations of women. But it may be surprising to learn that Iran had a relatable tendency during the s and 60s.

While Hollywood has converted the passively voyeuristic appeal of early Bond girls and the like into more heroic action figures, however, Iranian cinema has taken a very different path — and made some highly unique films as a result.

Briefly put, the sexualised female characters created in Iran were basically scantily dressed cabaret dancers waiting to be saved by heroic young men. Not too dissimilar to Bond girls, all in all. These figures then gave way to equally unrealistic representations in which women were blamed for their immoral permissiveness and, step by step across the next two decades, cabaret dancers turned into passive symbols of virtue.

So by the late 80s, plotlines in Iranian cinema were centred entirely on male characters, while women were more or less confined to nodding obediently.

Yet this reductive representation of women in film had one profound and ultimately beneficial effect: Iranian women who were interested in film turned their attention more predominantly to work behind the camera.

That meant that as a backlash began to build, an array of highly talented female directors emerged to set a new tone and provide a realistic voice for Iranian women.

And the panache by which it tells the story of three Iranian women struggling with their identity is certainly worthy of the complement.

The film begins with Hava on her 9th birthday, which in Islamic culture marks the end of childhood. The second story has a different feel, as we find middle-aged woman Ahoo competing in an all-female bicycle race — while her husband pursues her on horseback! The film then ends with the story of Hoora, an elderly widow who has just inherited some money.

But the real power of this vignette lies in its concluding moment.


As Hoora heads out into sea towards a waiting ship, she is watched by Hava, who is now wearing a chador, and two of the women from the bicycle race. The effect is a profound and meditative ending to a film with real cinematic prowess.

The film tells the story of a love triangle which takes place on the fringes of Islamic society. Adel, an immature thief, has a long-standing relationship to Afagh, his former lover and accomplice in crime.

Representation of women in cinema

As Adel hides his life as a thief from Nargess, the plot thickens when he enlists the jealous and ultimately heart-broken Afagh to aid his deception. The result is not only a complex and compelling emotional journey, but an historic moment in Iranian cinema which arguably helped make all the other films on this list possible.

Representation of women in cinema

Set during a two decade period, starting inprisoner Mitra and warden Mrs Yousefi start out feuding. With no love interests, patriarchal authority figures, or even particularly significant appearances of men, the plotline unfolds as a story about two women constrained by an implicit masculine presence.

The dynamic forms a powerful and thought-provoking cinematic experience, and ends in a wonderfully ambiguously moment when Mitra is finally released from prison.

With both Mitra and Mrs Yousefi now living a life without bars, the film begs the question: Powerful as much for its elliptical plotline and the circular motion of its narrative as its content, the film follows the lives of several different women on the same day, each of whom are connected by their social vulnerability.

The next vignette follows Nargess as she wanders from place to place, looking for help in escaping a life which we learn very little about. As she waits in resigned silence, the scene draws on with heart-breaking patience. And it builds towards a moment of incomparable poignancy as the circle is completed, and the film returns to conclude the narratives of Nargess and Solamez.

Leila Dariush Mehrjui, Leila is a film about the pressures put upon young couples to have children. It tells the story of a young and tender-hearted woman who cannot bear children, following her complex emotional journey as she becomes caught within the grip of social expectation.Of course, everyone knows that Hollywood has a penchant for creating hyper-sexualised representations of women.

But it may be surprising to learn that Iran had a relatable tendency during the s and 60s.

Representation of Women in Cinema | Essay Example

Sep 07,  · Inspired by Richard Linklater’s “Boyhood” — a magnificent film that tells the story of a boy’s life from 6 to 18 — we are taking a look at how girls are growing up in the movies. Researchers analyzed representation in films from to to track portrayals of gender, race, disability and LGBT characters.

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Not being situated in the culture of sexually objectifying women which dominates Hollywood, the films giving a voice to women in Iran provide a unique experience for the Western viewer. The poignantly ambivalent style of Iranian cinema also provides a profound cutting edge which won’t disappoint.

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