For many, movies can be a distraction. But film can offer more than mere entertainment value. Movies can challenge a viewer’s assumptions and morals, provoke critical thought and introduce novel ideas.
For these reasons, movies are invaluable instructive devices, capable of presenting complex concepts in an accessible way. It is this versatility that brings Duke University literature and women’s studies professor Negar Mottahedeh to campus tonight for a lecture titled “Crude Extractions: the Quest for Oil and the Construction of an Imaginary Modernity in Iranian Cinema.”
“Film has the capacity to change our minds,” said Mottahedeh, cultural critic and film theorist who focuses on Iranian film. “For me, that’s the most important part of my job — to question hardened perceptions.”
Mottahedeh’s lecture — which will be held at the FedEx Global Education Center — focuses on the development of Iranian film throughout the twentieth century, and how the film industry complements and critiques aspects of life not associated with film.
“I tell a different history of Iranian cinema, and emphasize an old film industry in a country in which many wouldn’t think there was one,” Mottahedeh said. “Also, few think of political, economic and industrial processes in relation to film. In fact, even when we’re entertained, there is a lot more at work.”