ISSN: 1059440X
First published in 2012
2 issues per volume
Volume 27 Issue 2
Cover Date: October 2016
When the sun goes down: Sex, desire and cinema in 1970s Tehran
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Authors:  Blake Atwood 
DOI: 10.1386/ac.27.2.127_1

Iran,film industry,film posters,sex,popular cinema,filmfārsi

The 1970s witnessed an explosion of sex in Iranian cinema, and the representation of bodies and desires became more explicit than ever. The rise of on-screen sex flew in the face of successive guidelines released by the Ministry of Cultural Affairs (MCA) in 1966 and 1972, which sought to limit the production and exhibition of films that featured sexual relations. This article explores this paradox and begins to trace the contours of a history of cinematic sex in mid-century Iran by examining film industry advertising schemes, especially film posters, alongside three sex-driven films: Mansur Purmand’s Shir tu shir (Chaos) (1972), Feraidun Goleh’s Zir-e pust-e shab (Under the Skin of the Night) (1974), and Parviz Sayyad’s Dar emtedād-e shab (Into the Night) (1978). I argue that what emerges from such an analysis is a complex capitalist system wherein the film industry both produces and markets sex but also creates the illusion that anyone can purchase the visual experience of sex. By democratizing sex through its popular representations, the film industry fuelled its own capitalist agenda but also contributed to the larger systems of consumerism and sex that was overtaking the surfaces of Iran, particularly Tehran, in the final decade before the Islamic Revolution
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