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 as the filmmakers produced newsreels documenting the rapid development of the country’s infrastructure. His attitude paved the way for the growth of contemporary art forms, particularly cinema in Iran. While the industry was in its infancy and in need of support, Rezâ Shah’s rule was also new and in need of means to demonstrate its power. Rezâ Shah saw cameras as tools to show the country as he wanted it to be seen. No one could even own a camera without authorization from a court. He hired Khân Bâbâ Mo‘tazedi to film various ceremonies at the palace, the parliament, and the opening ceremonies of the trans-Iranian railway system, the National Bank of Iran, and the Pahlavi communication center. These newsreels were shown at court, in army barracks, and at some theaters. After viewing an impressive documentary about the Anglo-Persian Oil Company in Khuzestân, Rezâ Shah ordered the construction of new movie theaters in Tehran. Lâlehzâr, a street in what was then the north of Tehran, but is now in the middle of the city, was where the theaters were built, along with European-style hotels. Lâlehzâr became an attractive location in Tehran for movie houses and was viewed as a venue for lovers, pleasure seekers, and those seeking amusement. Rezâ Shah’s program thus found a receptive audience among the country’s elite and the relatively small middle class. Since all the movie theaters were located in the northern part of Tehran, the government provided aid to build a theater in the southern part of Tehran in a poor neighborhood. Sinemâ Tamaddon (“Civilization Cinema”) was built there as a symbol of the shah’s determination to educate the Iranian population to modern ways of life. Once attendance by the so-called lower classes increased, a new hierarchy emerged among theater halls: elite and popular theaters. The former showed high-quality films of the time and were attended by educated people who were familiar with the Western literature from which those films were adopted. The latter showed foreign, comic, and action and adventure films and were attended by the less sophisticated public. Interestingly, the music played in these theaters was also geared to this hierarchy: whereas the elite theaters played Western music, the popular theaters played popular Persian music. Unfortunately, most films shown during Rezâ Shah’s reign were imported films from Europe, the United States, and Russia. His cultural policies fostered a favorable environment for the infl ux of Western films. During 1928– 1930, over 1,000 foreign films were imported into Iran, nearly half of them from the U.S. and the rest from France, Germany, Russia, and other countries. As Rezâ Shah’s sympathy to Germany increased, so did the number of German films shown in Iran. This was also helped by the absence of security prerequisites on foreign exchange to purchase German films. Not surprisingly, Rezâ Shah’s cultural policies fostered an environment openly conducive to the infl ux of Western films. American films fl ooded Iranian market during the 1920s, and German films gained a signifi cant market share towards the turn of the decade and well into the 1930s. The success of the later was not unrelated to Germany’s increased cultural and technical presence in Iran following World War I. While this fl ood of American and German films into the country enabled the expansion of a foreign film market in Iran, it inhibited the development of the local film industry. With Rezâ Shah’s departure in 1941, German films rapidly disappeared from the landscape of Iranian cinema, as was the case with most French productions as well. The result was an increase in American films, rising from 60 percent in 1940 to 70–80 percent by 1943. In the 1930s, signifi cantly more theatre halls opened. The young Iranian film industry also demonstrated its capacity for local production, no matter how limited.