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Abstract

This paper is an exploration of two Iranian films that draw upon spiritual, artistic and literary roots in Islamic history, while at the same time engaging in critiques of knowledge and power in contemporary Muslim societies. These films offer a chance to explore ways in which culture (as distinct from theological discourse) deals with problems of reform in Muslim societies. This article juxtaposes the films with the trickster archetype in folklore, Sufi thought about leadership, and beliefs about the figure of the Mahdi (“the guided one” mentioned in Prophetic hadith as preceding the second coming of Jesus).