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13. Musique et Arts du spectacle

Gönül Dönmez-Colin, Women in the Cinemas of Iran and Turkey: As Images and as Image-Makers

Max Bledstein
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Gönül Dönmez-Colin, Women in the Cinemas of Iran and Turkey: As Images and as Image-Makers, Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2020, 360 pp. (Routledge Studies in Middle East Film and Media). ISBN 978-0367784973

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1This book offers a thoughtful overview and comparison of women’s involvement in Iranian and Turkish filmmaking, including female characters, performers, and directors. Dönmez-Colin compares films of the two countries on the basis of their geographical location within the Middle East, robust national film traditions, and the longstanding predominance of male control over cinema in both. In spite of this control (or because of it), Dönmez-Colin shows how women’s roles in film production allow for a fascinating case study of the relationship between gender, power, and cinema in two countries with longstanding patriarchal structures and practices. The analysis combines close reading of a broad range of films with historical research on how women have been influenced by a variety of political events, as well as ethnographic methods, such as interviews with prominent female filmmakers. These approaches inform seven chapters, thematically organised around contrasting concepts: a chronological overview of the representation of female characters, the challenges and achievements of female directors, cinematic depictions of the effects of historical trauma on women, representations of political resistance, films dedicated to exploring issues related to gender and sexuality, filmmakers with interests in border-crossing and migration, and the presence of women in the films of Abbas Kiarostami and Nuri Bilge Ceylan.

2These chapters provide a comprehensive look at the relationship between women and cinema in both countries. The scope of Dönmez-Colin’s study gives a strong sense of complexities for female performers, filmmakers, and viewers throughout the histories of Iranian and Turkish film. The comparison between films of Iran and Turkey (as well as their similarities to and differences from notable films of other national cinemas) makes for an especially valuable contribution to Iranian film scholarship, given that scholars have often focused on the cultural and political particularities of Iranian cinema rather than its broader relationship with transnational filmmaking. I recommend this detailed and engaging book to students and scholars with interests in films of the Middle East and North Africa.

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Max Bledstein, « Gönül Dönmez-Colin, Women in the Cinemas of Iran and Turkey: As Images and as Image-Makers »Abstracta Iranica [En ligne], Volume 42-43 | 2021, document 5, mis en ligne le 30 décembre 2021, consulté le 28 novembre 2023. URL : ; DOI :

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Max Bledstein

University of New South Wales, Australie

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