"I died, still waiting on the truth" : self-identification and communicating personal ethics in the documentaries of exiled Iranian female filmmakers
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Beginning in the late 1990's and continuing through the first decade of the twenty-first century, an impressive array of documentaries created by a small group of exiled Iranian female documentary filmmakers about issues arising from within Iran's borders became readily available to audiences living in the United States and Europe. While professed and marketed as nuanced and comprehensive documentations of these topics, this cohort of films, in actuality, function on a second plane--one in which filmmakers employ and appropriate filmic representations of the historical world to construct documentaries in which they themselves constitute the actual subjects of the films they create. To illustrate how these filmmakers accomplish this second function, this thesis explores the ways in which documentarists construct various filmic gazes, or ways of seeing, within their films and participate through these gazes in ethical arguments that prioritize a particular way of existing within the historical world they are documenting. Form this analysis, this thesis concludes that exiled female Iranian documentary filmmakers construct various filmic gazes to create documentaries that participate in ethical arguments prioritizing processes of self-identification participated in by the filmmaker and filmic representations of the documentarist's socio-cultural identity over comprehensive documentation of a subject in the historical world.