Farassati also argues that these films tend to be dark in their subject matter and thus provide a bad image of Iran for the West. They reinforce negative beliefs about Iran, which in certain ways can be true. But of course he also knows that many major award-winning films from all over the world have been critical of their own societies and governments. This is what artists do.
I always enjoy Stephen Greenblatt’s scholarly works, so I looked forward to reading his reflections on his visit to Iran, recently published in the New York Review of Books. But like many Iranians, I was let down by Greenblatt’s April 2 travelogue, “Shakespeare in Tehran.”
Classical Persian poetry has held an important place in English-language literature: Khayyam is a central figure of the Victorian era; Rumi remains a best-selling poet in America; and Hafez has been one of the most frequently translated poets. But modern Persian poetry is absent from contemporary surveys. No modern Persian writer appears in the “Norton Anthology of World Literature” or in the “Encyclopedia of Literary Translation into English.”
* Kaveh Bassiri *
Could we walk into a dark gallery and by feeling objects on a wall encounter something akin to a story or a narrative? Can we adapt a symphony or a short story for the somatic perception, the way we adapt a novel to a film?