First as Farce, Then as Filmfarsi: Film Adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew in Iran

Document Type: Research Papers

Authors

1 Department of Foreign languages and Linguistics, Shiraz University

2 department of English literature

10.22099/jps.2020.37257.1114

Abstract

This article is concerned with William Shakespeare’s famous farce play The Taming of the Shrew and its Persian adaptation as an Iranian film called Gorbe ra dame Hejleh Mikoshand in 1969. The point that informs the inquiry is the way the film departs and differs from the play in relation to the issue of women within the patriarchal society. The play and the film will be examined separately in detail, while their similarities and differences will be also accounted for. By going through the structure of the play, in particular by showing attention to the importance of the Christopher Sly Induction which frames the narrative of the play, as well as surveying the critical looks on the play throughout the last century, it will be argued that the Bard’s work, far from being an anti-feminine play that reflected the male authority of the society of its time, allows for new possibilities for the autonomy of women within the patriarchal system. The Persian adaptation, however, deliberately forecloses the same possibilities by trying to cater to the taste of its mainstream male, chauvinist audience. The film will be exclusively investigated in the context of filmfarsi (a popular and mainstream cinema in Pre-Revolution Iran) by dissecting the components of the genre to show the deep, irreconcilable dichotomy between men and women in the Pahlavi era

Keywords


Azin, Jabbar. Moghadame-i bar sinema-ye novin-e Iran: Az filmfarsi ta filmfarsi! [An introduction to modern Iranian cinema: From filmfarsi to filmfarsi!]. Naghd-e Sinama 60: 25-31, 2008.
Ball, Robert Hamilton. Shakespeare on Silent Film: A Strange Eventful History. London: Routledge, 2013.
Bozorgmehr, Shirin. Influence of Translation of Dramatic Texts on Theater in Iran. Tehran: Tabyan Publications, 2000.
Buhler, Stephen M. Shakespeare in the Cinema: Ocular Proof. New York: State University of New York Press, 2001.
Dobson, Michael & Stanley Wells (Eds). The Oxford Companion to Shakespeare. London: Oxford, 2001.
Empson, William. “The Strengths of the Shrew.” Bloom’s Shakespeare’s Through the Ages: The Taming of the Shrew. Eds. Harold Bloom & Pamela Loos. New York: Infobase Publishing, 2007. 122-127.
Ganjeh, Azadeh. Performing Hamlet in Modern Iran (1900-2012). Diss. Universität Bern, 2017.
Giti, Hossein. Filmfarsi va faraz va nashib-hayash: mo’alefe-haye sinamaye filmfarsi [Filmfarsi and its ups and downs: the elements of filmfarsi cinema]. Naghd-e Sinama 60: 32-33, 2008.
Hutcheon, Linda. A Theory of Adaptation. New York and London: Routledge. 2006. Print.
Jackson, Russell. The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare on Film. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000.
Kahn, Coppélia. “The Taming of the Shrew: Shakespeare’s Mirror of Marriage,” Modern Language Studies, Vol. 5, No. 1 (1975): 88-102.
Kar, Balim. “BWW Review: The Taming of the Shrew at Istanbul State Theatre.” Broadway World (January 22, 2019). August 15, 2019. < https://www.broadwayworld.com/turkey/article/BWW-Review-THE-TAMING-OF-THE-SHREW-at-Istanbul-State-Theatre-20190122/>
Khoshbakht, Ehsan. “How Iran’s ‘Filmfarsi’ Remains the Biggest Secret in Cinema History.” The Guardian (July 11, 2019). August 15, 2019. < https://www.theguardian.com/film/2019/jul/11/iran-filmfarsi-remains-biggest-secret-in-cinema-history/> 
Litvin, M., Oz, A., and Parotvi, P. (2017). “Middle Eastern Shakespeares.” The Shakespearean World. Eds. Jill L. Levenson & and Robert Ormsby. London: Routledge, pp. 97-115.
Moradiyan Rizi, Najmeh. “Iranian Women, Iranian Cinema: Negotiating with Ideology and Tradition.” Journal of Religion and Film, Vol. 19, No. 1 (2015): 1-26.
Naficy, Hamid. A Social History of Iranian Cinema, Volume 4: The Globalizing Era, 1984-2010. Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2012.
Shakespeare, William. The Taming of the Shrew. New York: Signet Classics, 1998.
Smith, Emma. The Cambridge Introduction to Shakespeare. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007.
Sonneborn, Liz. A to Z of American Women in the Performing Arts. New York: Fact on File, 2001.
Rekabtalaie, Golbarg. Iranian Cosmopolitanism: A Cinematic History. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2019.
Talattof, Kamran. Modernity, Sexuality and Ideology in Iran: The Life and Legacy of Popular Iranian Female Artists. New York: Syracuse University Press, 2011.
West, Michael. “The Folk Background of Petruchio’s Wooing Dance: Male Supremacy in ‘The Taming of the Shrew’,” Shakespeare Studies, Vol. 7 (1974): 69-81.
Wray, Ramona. “Chapter 4: Franco Zeffirelli.” The Great Shakespeareans Vol. XVII: Welles, Kozintsev, Kurosawa and Zeffirelli. Eds. Peter Holland & Adrian Poole. New York: Bloomsbury, 2013. 141-184.