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Reform Cinema in IranFilm and Political Change in the Islamic Republic$
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Blake Atwood

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780231178174

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231178174.001.0001

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When Love Entered Cinema

When Love Entered Cinema

Mysticism and the Emerging Poetics of Reform

(p.27) 1 When Love Entered Cinema
Reform Cinema in Iran

Blake Atwood

Columbia University Press

In 1992 Khatami abruptly left his position in the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, and he cited the strict regulation of art as the reason for his resignation. This chapter examines the circumstances leading to his resignation and, in particular, it investigates the case of Mohsen Makhmalbaf’s controversial film Time for Love (1991). The release of Time for Love, which openly depicts a married woman’s affair, sparked a media frenzy, as conservative religious leaders, policymakers, and commentators blamed Khatami for its release, since the film had gone through the Ministry’s inspection process. The criticism launched against Khatami became so severe that he was forced to respond publically and defend his support of the film. This chapter examines the debates about Time for Love as they unfolded in newspaper editorials, political speeches, and religious sermons. These debates instruct us that the film industry helped to shape certain reformist ideas in the early 1990s, and it was Time for Love’s appropriation of a mystic aesthetic that appealed to these budding reformists.

Keywords:   Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Mysticism, Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, Mohammad Khatami, Love, Revolutionary Discontent

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