Kaveh Askari: Relaying Cinema in Midcentury Iran

/ University of Toronto Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Institute of Iranian Studies


Kaveh Askari


November 19, 2021

The 54th episode of Parse is an excerpt of a lecture given by Kaveh Askari on his 2022 book, Relaying Cinema in Midcentury Iran which offers a transcultural history of cinema’s circulation. It draws from multi-sited archives of films, distributor memos, licensing contracts, advertising programs, and audio recordings. The talk specifically focuses on the second chapter of the book, “Circulation Worries,” which tracks the work of those who worried over films, those who operated technologies of sound and image (especially dubbing technologies), and those engaged in the practical management of copyright. Focusing on a few high-profile moments of blockage, unprofitability, and physical reconfiguration of second-hand Hollywood studio prints, this talk redefines these seeming barriers to film circulation in Iran as examples of careful labors of engineering, maintenance, and repair.