Iranians and their cinema: A love affair

Asghar Farhadi's win for Best Foreign Language Film at the 84th Academy Awards marks the first time an Iranian film has won the prestigious award

Hamid Dabashi is Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature at Columbia University.
The recent victory for Best Foreign Language Film of Asghar Farhadi’s latest is a triumph for Iranians everywhere.
On the evening of February 26, Asghar Farhadi’s Joda’i-ye Nader az Simin (A Separation), won the Best Foreign Language Film at the 84th Academy Awards. Having conquered numerous other summits, this was a new pinnacle for Iranian cinema.Iranians around the globe, some waiting into the wee hours of the morning, others setting their clocks to get up early, all depending on their distance from the US West Coast, were euphoric.

But the custodians of the beleaguered Islamic Republic were askance – the conspiratorially minded among them considered the award a plot. They consider everything a plot – as do the retrograde segments of “the opposition” they have generated and dispatched around the world to keep themselves in power.

Those in power in the Islamic Republic thought this was an award to bring them down from power; those wishing the US and Israel will bring them back to Iran to power thought this was an award to keep them from overthrowing those in power. The pathology confounded itself – and thus the award became an instant measure of truth, separating those afflicted by politics and those liberated by art.

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