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Shi’i Islam and Iranian National Identity in Morteza Avini’s War Documentaries

Abbasian, Kaveh (2016) Shi’i Islam and Iranian National Identity in Morteza Avini’s War Documentaries. In: Culture and Cultural Production in Iran: Past and Present-Conference, 17-19 June 2016, University of St Andrews, UK. (Unpublished) (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:88906)

The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided. (Contact us about this Publication)

Abstract

Shortly after the 1979 Iranian revolution, the new Islamic rulers initiated a nation-wide campaign of purification of cinema, closing down cinema venues and banning a large number of cinema professionals from working. The state aimed for an independent domestic cinema with Islamic and educational content in service of reshaping the Iranian national identity. Soon many young non-professional Islamic revolutionaries started making their own state-funded ideological films.

Morteza Avini was one of these revolutionaries who managed to establish himself as the head of a group of young filmmakers making documentaries in the frontlines of Iran-Iraq war. In 1986 he was given the task of documenting the war both at the battlefront and behind the lines. The result was five series of newsreel style documentaries consisting of 63 episodes under one title, ‘The Chronicle of Triumph’, which continued to be broadcast on the national TV until the end of war in 1988. By developing his own specific film techniques and incorporating two of the most central Shi’a concepts, Avini managed to create one of the strongest propaganda tools in service of the hegemonisation of the Islamic Republic’s ideology and reshaping of the Iranian national identity. These two Shi’a concepts were first Martyrdom (Imam Hussein and Karbala) and second apocalypticism (re-emergence of the hidden Imam). In this paper, after briefly tracing back these two concepts to pre-Islamic Iranian mythologies and exploring the importance of them in the Islamic Republic’s nation building project, I will focus on their incorporation in Morteza Avini’s documentary series The Chronicle of Triumph. By using stills and footage from the series, I will show how and in what sense the two mentioned concepts were employed in order to create a strong propaganda war documentary series that later became an icon of Iranian Sacred Defence cinema.

Item Type: Conference or workshop item (Paper)
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of Arts
Depositing User: Kaveh Abbasian
Date Deposited: 29 Jun 2021 16:01 UTC
Last Modified: 28 Sep 2021 12:56 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/88906 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Abbasian, Kaveh: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4208-2644
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