Today Iranian cinema is one of the most highly regarded national cinemas in the world, regularly winning festival awards and critical acclaim for films which combine remarkable artistry and...
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Today Iranian cinema is one of the most highly regarded national cinemas in the world, regularly winning festival awards and critical acclaim for films which combine remarkable artistry and social relevance. IRAN: A CINEMATOGRAPHIC REVOLUTION traces the development of this film industry, which has always been closely intertwined with the country's tumultuous political history, from the decades-long reign of Reza Shah Pahlevi and his son, the rise of Khomeini and the birth of the Islamic Republic, the seizure by militants of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, and the devastating war with Iraq.
Nader Homayoun's documentary which I have seen on the European art channel ARTE presents a historical view of a cinematographic school that has amazed in the last few years the movie fans all over the globe presented on the background of the last half century of history of Iran. Although some of the major and better known films of the Iranian cinema are missing from this review the historical value and the interest of the documentary is kept high by this parallelism of cinema and history. It is really surprising and probably novelty for the majority of film fans to learn about the school of cinema that developed in Iran in the late 60s and the 70s - a school mature and diverse in the means of expression, socially engaged and adding its voice to the protests that led to the fall of the Shah. The tone and style changes with the Islamic revolution, which changed the rules of the artistic expression, cenzorship and social engagement of the artists as many revolutions do. The role of the Iranian cinema in the war between Iran and Iraq is also presented in details. The documentary part includes well selected excepts and interviews with some of the important directors of the period. Although film lovers who would be interested more in the aesthetics risk to be disappointed, the documentary value exceeds the expectations and makes the film worth seeing.
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