In this pioneering book, Negar Mottahedeh explores the central issues of vision and visibility in Iranian culture. She focuses on historical and literary texts to understand the use of visual culture in the production of the contemporary nation. Tracing the historical mediation and dissemination of ideas for national reform in the modern period of Iran, the book examines the various discourses that have constituted the image of the ""Babi."" As cinema began to displace other forms of Iranian entertainment, Islamic culture attempted to keep the motion picture industry free from what it perceived to be the taint of foreign values and intervention. With rich insight and compelling detail, Mottahedeh looks at the revealing ways in which Iranian cinema has dealt with representing the unpresentable. In her exploration of gender and Iranian film, the author argues powerfully against contemporary uses of veiling in the representation of Iran as a modern nation. This highly original work, signaling a paradigm shift in Iranian studies and gender studies, will be an invaluable resource for scholars.