Reflection of urban space in modern Iranian cinema



Urban design, being concerned with the quality of built environment, requires close interaction with other disciplines such as urban planning, environmental design and architecture as well as sociology, psychology, and economics. This is necessary in order to appropriately recognize and analyze different dimensions of existing problems and provide solutions to them and to improve the quality of the urban environment. One such discipline is cinema, which as a mass medium, constantly represents signs, symbols, events, spaces, and environments, to people and continually reveals, reminds, influences and educates its audience with the quality of the environment surrounding them and influences their expectations and their criteria for a better living condition. The relationship between city and cinema has been largely neglected in both films making and urban design. Yet the city plays a central but unaccredited role in a multitude of films. This article explores the central role of urban spaces in Modernist thought through a close examination of films using urban settings. The study concerns about the main tendencies in using urban spaces in Iranian cinema well as the features of urban space which are displayed. The study is also interested in the meanings and affective aspects of spaces as used to proceed with the story in movies. This paper explores these and other questions by examining the urban spaces selected and the way they are represented in films. Throughout, the paper reflects on the relationship between the films as a medium and the city as reality. It seeks to draw on the work of theorists and practitioners engaged in this issue. This is done through examining films in the context of urban design and development and particularly explores the contested social, cultural and political domain. This knowledge will allow the audience to identify and understand the strengths and weaknesses of presented urban spaces not only from an urban design perspective, but also for their capability to convey meaning from a film maker's point of view. This is ultimately to enhance the user's visual and conceptual understanding of public spaces. This in turn would increase people's expectation of the quality of the urban environment. This research can be useful for various groups of specialists, including urban designers and filmmakers as well as audiences. The study adopts a qualitative approach, applying Delphi and Content Analysis methods. Findings show that Iranian films have mainly used either historical or cultural urban spaces; however, usually both urban spaces are not strong enough to support the movie making industry. Another obstacle in using urban spaces in movies is the difficulty inherent in such an approach, which discourages filmmakers from using urban spaces more often in their movies. This research is a step forward in recognizing urban design status in cinema and the role the urban spaces play in conveying meanings and helping the film story to progress. In addition association of main and ideal meanings of public space in film will cause to promote perception and taste of observers. Through movies appropriate setting is created to represent well designed public spaces.