Author ORCID Identifier

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Moving Image Studies

First Advisor

Alessandra Raengo

Second Advisor

Angelo Restivo

Third Advisor

Jennifer Barker

Fourth Advisor

Hamid Dabashi


In this dissertation project, I argue that Iranian modern cinema of time-image revives the collective experience of the past, the communal experience handed down through generations that Walter Benjamin calls erfahrung. On the formal level, Iranian modern cinema summons the erfahrung of a non-linear understanding of time (epitomized in what I call “imaginal cinema”), the practices of dissimulation (manifested in what I call “cinema of dissimulation”), and many other Iranian-Islamic traditional notions and practices. In contrast, on the formal level, Iranian mainstream cinema of action-image (FilmFarsi) evokes the disconnected experience under capitalism, an individualized experience that Benjamin calls erlebnis. By opposing the aesthetics of FilmFarsi, and by invoking the erfahrung of the past, Iranian modern cinema connects the atomized modern individuals to the collective memory of the past. Doing so, in cinematic terms, Iranian modern cinema epitomizes what Hamid Dabashi calls “anticolonial modernity,” as it achieves modern cinematic form on Iran’s own authentic terms, distinct and separate from Americanized models imposed through colonial and imperial processes, as manifested in FilmFarsi.

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