Date of Award

Spring 4-12-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Film Studies

First Advisor

Nam Lee, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Roxanne Varzi, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Federico Pacchioni, Ph.D.


In addition to box office success, Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi’s films have achieved national and international critical acclaims. However, it is not only this rare achievement of critical and commercial success that sets Farhadi apart from other Iranian filmmakers, but also, his new approach to the issues of truth and morality which have been age-long themes in the history of Iranian art, literature, and cinema. Compared to his predecessors such as Abbas Kiarostami, Mohsen Makhmalbaf, and Jafar Panahi, Farhadi’s viewpoint on these themes is distinctly secular. This thesis focuses on the significance of the change Farhadi’s approach has brought on Iranian cinema by analyzing three of his critically acclaimed films, About Elly (2009), A Separation (2011), and The Salesman (2016). By creative use of narrative techniques such as narrative gaps and open endings and filmic techniques such as indirect-subjective point of view and handheld camera, Farhadi’s films highlight the relativity of the concepts of truth and morality through a secular and modernist lens. Such an approach marks a shift in Iranian cinema which, in turn, indicates an ideological shift within the contemporary Iranian society as well.

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Creative Commons License
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