Salaam Cinema! 50 Years of Iranian Movie Posters

9/17/2016 - 12/11/16
Alsdorf Gallery

Salaam Cinema

The rare posters in this exhibition have been selected from the Hamid Naficy Movie Poster Collection at Northwestern University Libraries Archives. Dating from the 1960s to the present, the posters in the collection document the social history of cinema in Iran and over half a century of dramatic political turmoil and change.

 After the end of World War II, the Iranian film industry rapidly expanded and modernized. Two major parallel cinemas emerged—commercially driven filmfarsi (Persian language) productions and an influential new wave cinema of dissent. The posters in Salaam Cinema! highlight the most prevalent filmfarsi genres, including pre-revolutionary melodramas and comedies that reinforce traditional values, cultural identity, gender stereotypes, and the Iranian star system. The exhibition also features posters from post-revolutionary, author-driven cinematic movements: dystopian new wave films that underscore the mounting paranoia, fear, and anger leading up to the 1978-79 Islamic revolution; nationalist films expressing the trauma of the Iran-Iraq War; films directed by and starring women that critically explore their representation on screen; and more contemporary art house films that examine post-revolutionary Iranian society.

 Iranian cinema frequently addresses film culture itself—the act of filmmaking, genre conventions, the experience of going to the movies, and cinephilia that is specific to Iran. This self-reflexivity is central to the exhibition and the accompanying film series Iranian Cinephilia: From Filmfarsi to Art-House Cinema. A symposium, Lucid Figurations: Iranian Movie Poster and Film Art, will take place at the Block Museum on November 17th and 18th.

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This exhibition has been curated by Hamid Naficy, Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani Professor in Northwestern University’s School of Communication, in collaboration with the Block Museum’s Curator of Media Arts, Michelle Puetz; Simran Bhalla, PhD candidate in Screen Cultures; Azadeh Safaeian, PhD candidate in the Comparative Literary Studies Program; and the students in Professor Naficy’s Winter 2016 course “National Cinemas: Iranian Art House Cinema and Visual Culture.”  

The exhibition is presented in partnership with the Northwestern University Libraries and has been generously supported through co-sponsorship by the Buffett Institute for Global Studies and the Alsdorf Gallery at the Block Museum Endowment Fund.

The complete Hamid Naficy Iranian Movie Posters Collection is now available to view in the Northwestern University Libraries Digital Image Repository.



Exhibition Programs

Opening Celebration: Salaam Cinema! - October 6, 5:00 PM


Join us for the kick-off of the Block Cinema film series Iranian Cinephilia and a celebration of the exhibition Salaam Cinema! 50 Years of Iranian Movie Posters. The evening will feature a gallery talk by curators Michelle Puetz and Hamid Naficy, as well as a conversation and screening with “the father of Iranian animation,” Nouredeen Zarrinkelk.

5:00pm - Reception & Gallery Talk

6:00pm - Hamid Naficy in conversation with Michelle Puetz

7:00pm - Screening with Noureddin Zarrinkelk in person - Golden Quill: A Retrospective of Noureddin Zarrinkelk’s Animated Films

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Lucid Figurations: Iranian Movie Poster & Film Art


Thursday, November 17, 7:00pm 
Filmmaker Rakhshan Bani-Etemad will open the "Lucid Figurations" symposium with a discussion and screening of her 2014 film "Tales". 

Friday, November 18, 9:00am
Two panels featuring international scholars and artists will focus on the art of movie poster design and the culture of cinephilia in Iran. The symposium will close with a tribute to Abbas Kiarostami, presented by his son Ahmad Kiarostami.

Symposium co-sponsored by Northwestern University Department of Anthropology, Department of Radio-TV-Film, Screen Cultures Program, International Studies Program, Buffett Institute for Global Studies and the Center for Global Culture and Communication