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 produced in the 1950s and 60s as “inferior,” both technically and artistically. They certainly had a cultural bias as well: those films glorifi ed the working class, peasants, and artisans as well as their culture. Towards the late 1950s and into the early 1960s, while commercial films gradually gained a foothold in Iranian cinema, the new filmmakers challenged the Film Fârsi establishment not only by criticism but also by making their own films. Some of these films included Forugh Farrokhzâd’s documentary about people affl icted with leprosy, Khâneh siâh ast (“The House is Black”) in 1962, Ebrâhim Golestân’s Kesht o âyeneh (“Mudbrick and Mirror”) in 1965, and Shâhrokh Ghaffâri’s Shab-e quzi (“The Night of the Hunchback”) in 1964. These films were works meant to be categorized as “art films” or “intellectual” or “progressive.” Siâvosh dar Takht-e Jamshid (“ Siavosh at Persepolis ”) was produced by the poet, Fereydun Rahnemâ, in 1967. In the same year, Dâvud Mo‘lâpur produced Showhar-e Âhu Khânom (“Mrs. Ahu’s Husband”) based on a popular novel of the same name by ‘Ali-Mohammad Afghâni. Based on a script by Gholâm-Hosayn Sa‘edi, Daryush Mehrjui made the celebrated film Gâv (“The Cow”) in 1968. Other films included: Moghol-hâ (“The Mongols”) by Parviz Kimiâvi in 1973; Cheshmeh (“The Spring”) by Ârbi Âvânesiân in 1970; an adaptation of Sâdeq Chubak’s novel Tangsir by Amir Nâderi in 1973;, Yek ettefâq-e sâdeh (“A Simple Incident”) by Sohrâb Shahid-Sâles in 1973, Qeysar in 1967 and Khâk (“The Earth”) in 1973 by Mas‘ud Kimiâi; Toqi by ‘Ali Hâtami in 1969; and Gharibeh va meh (“The Stranger and the Fog”) by Bahrâm Bayzâi in 1974. These new films questioned the old cinematic tradition in content, form, and even technique and offered Iranian viewers an alternative cinema. They came to be known as the “New Wave” ( mowj-e now ). The New Wave represented “committed art” which demanded refl ection and social responsibility, rather than escapist entertainment where the viewer remains passive and receptive. As was to be expected, their thematic content attracted substantial disfavor from the Iranian censors. What proved controversial was the stark realities they portrayed, often highlighting issues which until that point had been hidden from the public eye. Mo‘lâpur’s “Mrs. Ahu’s Husband,” for instance, concerned itself with the issue and implications of polygamy in Iranian society. Some other films which sparked controversy, particularly with the censorship authorities, were Ghaffâri’s “The Night of the Hunchback” and Farrokhzâd’s “The House is Black.” Films categorized in this genre were much less optimistic about the direction of society and often symbolically criticized prevailing cultural norms and policies. They were also considered subversive to the dominant political system and viewed as antiestablishment for challenging, either overtly or covertly, the status quo. Another feature of some of the New Wave films was their focus on universal issues surpassing national considerations. These films strived to deal with basic human questions and conditions that transcended the Iranian context. That is why some of these films traveled outside of the country, won international awards, and gained international fame for Iranian cinema. Two such films were Mehrjui’s “The Cow” and Shahid-Sales’ Tabi‘at-e bi-jân (“Still Life”), made in 1974. Both won prestigious international prizes and became the symbols of New Wave Iranian cinema. In general, the New Wave movies were regarded as elitist and some had diffi culty attracting average Iranians as viewers. Some of these films showed only one or two nights in Tehran, never making it to provincial towns. They attracted many intellectuals and provided fodder for critical commentaries in newspapers but remained financially unsustainable and too culturally sophisticated for the general public. The disparity between the intellectual and lower classes in Iran denied these young filmmakers commercial success and pitted them against critics who viewed them as elitists. Yet, some of them did receive considerable attention in foreign countries. Rahnemâ’s “Siâvosh at Persepolis” was one such film. The financial failure of these films discouraged their producers, in turn putting pressure on filmmakers to make films which were more viable financial ly. In fact, a number of films made in this period combined elements of both artistic and commercial considerations such as Yârân (“Comrades”) in 1974 and Mâhi-hâ dar khâk mimirand (“Fish Die on Ground” ) in 1976, both by Farzân Delju. By and large, these films were successful in shifting public interests from violence and sex to a more refi ned and constructive taste. Starting in 1968, public interest in Film Fârsi began to decline and some of the new intellectual films began to attract public attention. For instance, Mas‘ud Kimiâi’s Qeysar made a dynamic breakthrough into the domestic film industry by winning both critics’ and viewer’s attention. Other films which caught the interest of both critics and the public were Âqâ-ye Hâlu (“Mr.Simpleton,” 1970) Dâsh Âkol (1971), and Gavazn-hâ (“The Deer,” 1974). The cultural policy adopted by the Pahlavi regime with the onset of the White Revolution in 1963 assumed somewhat of a greater intensity in the late sixties and early seventies. The policy attempted to enforce a homogenization of diverse Iranian ethnic cultures, to depict the monarchy as the best form of government, and to give a positive picture of modern Iran to the international community. Aware of the widespread accessibility to and infl uence of the many forms of Iranian media, the government encouraged the expansion of cultural centers. By 1965, Tehran had 72 movie theaters, while other provinces had 192. The government also exerted more control over older establishments like the Ministry of Information and the Ministry of Culture and Arts. National Iranian Television (NIT) was transformed to National Iranian Radio and Television (NIRT), expanding its infl uence into other cultural domains. A large budget was allocated to feature-filmmaking, predominantly in the public sector, with full government control. The NIRT established the College of Television along with a powerful production company named Telefilm. The latter was responsible for training young Iranians in the art of filmmaking and fi nding common ground between the stage theater and film. Tehran University housed the Faculty of Dramatic Arts and the Faculty of Fine Arts. Expansion of outlets for developing interest and professional expertise in the cinematic arts continued with government initiatives like The Free Cinema of Iran , various festivals featuring films like the annual Shiraz Art Festival, the Educational Festival (1967 onwards), the International Festival of Films for Children and Young Adults (1967), the Free Cinema Film Festival (1970), the National Film Festival (1970), the Tehran International Film Festival (1972) and the Asian Young Film Festival (1974). In 1969, the Center for the Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults, along with UNESCO, helped with making films for children. A signifi cantly large number of young filmmakers branched away from the established film industry to form an independent collective, called “the New Film Group,” while the government actively censored and/or prohibited several Telefilm-NFG productions. These developments, along with increased activities of New Wave filmmakers led to a historical revival of the country’s domestic filmmaking industry—encouraging film critics to speak variously of sinemâ-ye now (New Cinema), sinemâ-ye javân (Young Cinema), mowj-e-now (New Wave), or even sinemâ-ye demokrâtik (Democratic Cinema). The foundation of what would emerge later in the postrevolutionary period was put down in this period.