On August 10, 1978, three men set fi re to the Rex Theater in the city of Abâdân, killing 300 people who were trapped inside. At the time, this was widely blamed on agents of the shah’s secret police (SAVAK). However, as the country went through the revolutionary turmoil, theater-burning became a common act by […]

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, young critics and new filmmakers, who had studied film in Western universities, returned home. They were familiar with modern techniques and sensitive towards artistic quality and technical standards in the film. Their views refreshed the movie scene with new ideas different from common tradition. They viewed Iranian films […]

Following World War II, a breakthrough for Iranian cinema came when Esmâ‘il Kushân channeled his profi ts from dubbing foreign films into the production of films with sound in Iran. In 1947, he established a film studio, Mitrâ Film, followed by the production of Iran’s first feature-length sound film in 1948, Tufân-e zendegi (“The Tempest […]

From 1937 till 1947, foreign films continued their dominance, and Iran did not produce any films locally. During the 1940s, numerous restrictions were imposed on Iranian cinema resulting in the stagnation of local production. World War II also caused serious political and economic difficulties for the country and brought the fragile Iranian motion picture industry […]

With the establishment of the Pahlavi dynasty, the secularized state became a social and cultural force to encourage the spread of new ideas through new modes of communication. Rezâ Shah was a strong leader determined to push modernization of Iran against any opposition, even from the religious quarters. He supported the film industry as long […]

The introduction of modern film to a traditional Iran was not without its sociological problems. As mentioned earlier, cinema started as a court entertainment and remained available only to the cultural and political elite for over a decade. When the government began to encourage this industry, it still had to confront the opposition of the […]

Cinema in Iran has its origins in the foibles of court entertainment in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. In 1900, the Qâjâr king, Mozaffar-od-Din Shah, went to France for a state visit. While there, he became fascinated with the camera and what it could do. He ordered his photographer, Mirzâ Ebrâhim ‘Akkâsbâshi, to […]

Drama and cinema in contemporary Iran can be said to have some roots in older, more traditional forms of similar cultural activities. The first type of dramatic expression, for example, was probably connected to the veneration by ancient Iranians of the sun-god Mithra, when worshipers constructed a public stage and wore masks to perform certain […]


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