Niki Akhavan: Iran-Iraq War Cinema in the New Millennium

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


Niki Akhavan


October 28, 2022

In this episode, join host, Yasamin, in exploring “Sacred Defense Cinema”, a niche genre in Iranian cinema which deals with topics related to the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988).  

The 28th of Parse is a snippet of a talk given by Niki Akhavan on the large body of popular and officially supported Iranian cinematic works centered on the Iran-Iraq war or what is otherwise known as “Sacred Defense Cinema”. Throughout these decades, the representations of the war and themes related to it have shifted in accordance to the political exigencies of any particular moment. This talk focuses on the triple figures of the active soldier, martyr, and veteran, especially as they appear in films from the second decade of the new millennium (roughly from 2014-2018), to examine how these representations become vehicles not only for further establishing a favored narrative about the Iran-Iraq war but more importantly for justifying Iran’s policy decisions, specifically as they pertain to its military interventions in the region at the time. 
Niki Akhavan is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Media and Communication Studies at The Catholic University of America in Washington DC. She is the author of Electronic Iran: The Cultural Politics of an Online Evolution (Rutgers, 2013), and has also published on Iranian narrative and documentary cinema, the intersections of Iranian media and gender, information warfare in the age of digital media, and the relationship between Iranian sports and media. 
To watch the complete lecture, click here: ⁠From Defense to Intervention – Niki Akhavan – 28 oct 2022⁠