Royal Holloway Conference Abstracts Monday 18th April 2016

Panel 1b) The Child’s Gaze

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Panel 1b) The Child’s Gaze
Where is My Friend’s Home?: Thirty Years Later”, Farshad Zahedi (University of Carlos III de Madrid)
Now, nearly 30 years after the release date of Kiarostami’s Where is my friend’s home? (1987), it is time and there are enough historical perspectives to come back and reanalyse the movie. The wide acknowledgment of Kiarostami as a global author, maybe, provides us with some kind of freedom to rethink one of the most local films of his filmography, and one of the most important representations of children in Iranian cinema. What makes the film interesting is an apparent pre-ideological space in which a little hero just moves from a village to another in order to find his friend’s home and turn back his homework’s notebook. Many of the scholars saw some metaphysical references in this simple action of a child out of home, and his poetic will to overcome the adult’s absurd obstacles. But any poetical reading of the film may close the way to observe the cognitive map that the movie offers us. In other words, and apropos of the hypothesis, Where is my friend’s home? discovers a microcosmic village and the dwellers of a system of social relations and power.

With regards to what was mentioned, the object of this study is the sequence of the encounters between little Ahmad and the male gathering of the village (including his own grandfather who is the first one trying to supress him), which sheds light on the kiarostamian idea of social conflicts and on the very materialistic way that his camera explores the ideological notion of national identity.

Farshad Zahedi received his Ph.D. in Film History in 2008. At present he is a senior lecturer teaches Moving Image History and Film Studies at Universidad Carlos III, Madrid. He is Associate Member of Centre for Iranian Studies at SOAS (University of London) and member of researcher database of the Childhood and Nation in World Cinema network. In recent years he has published widely about his research interests: Iranian cinema and cultural studies; aesthetic roots; gender representations; psychoanalytic criticism; film theories and history of Iranian independent cinema. Among his publishing stands out: “Myth of Bastoor and Children of Iranian Independent CinemaFilm International. vol. 12, n. 3. pp. 21-30 and “Los niños errantes del cine iraní: del mito a la historia” [The Wandering Children of Iranian Cinema: From Myth to History], Vivat Academia, XIV, Especial edition, pp. 1179-1193.

Watching the child watching the primal scene:

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