Iran is home to one of the oldest civilizations in the world, going back over 3500 years. Image making is not a new concept for this ancient culture. Americans and the West tend to associate two conflicting sets of images with Iran: Ayatolla Khomeini and the hostage crisis, "Axis of Evil," Islamic fundamentalism, Shi'ia terrorists, and the revolution; or Persia, as the English imperialists called Iran, is imagined as mysterious and exotic: home of spiritual poetry, sensual music, the land of gardens, Rosewater, and Thousand and One Nights. Both of these constructions render Iran/Persia as alien and other, representing everything that "we" are not. Studying Iranian Cinema provides an opportunity to examine some of our own silent, "privileged" constructions of the Western identity. Cinema came to Iran not too much later than its first screenings by the Lumier Brothers in Europe. This course will look at the development of Iranian Cinema over the decades taking into account the many socio-political upheavals, imperialist interventions and their impact on this art form. We will be looking at silent and sound films spanning a period of over a hundred years. Class activities include screening of Farsi language fiction and documentary films; in-class presentations and group discussion of selected screenings and theory readings. Class assignments can be interpreted as short video/film projects or written text. Wherever required technical workshops will be provided outside of class. Some written assignments will be required of all students.