Very much in the tradition of Siegried Kracauer’s classic historical study, From Caligari to Hitler: A Psychological Study of the German Film, IRAN: A CINEMATOGRAPHIC REVOLUTION chronicles how Iranian films reflected contemporaneous society and often presaged social change. It shows how mainstream commercial cinema served as a propaganda tool for both the monarchy and the fundamentalist religious regime, recounts the sporadic efforts of some filmmakers to reveal grimmer social realties, and the struggles against censorship and traditional cinematic formulas by such pioneers as Bahram Beyzai, Sohrab Shahid Saless and Parviz Kimiavi and pre- and post-Islamic revolutionary ‘new wave’ filmmakers such as Amir Naderi, Rakhshan Bani-Etemad, Dariush Mehrjui, Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Jafar Panahi, Bahman Ghobadi, and Abbas Kiarostami.
This documentary explores this history through a compelling blend of archival footage, excerpts from representative and landmark Iranian films, and interviews with Iranian filmmakers, film critics, film historians, and government and film industry executives. In the process, IRAN: A CINEMATOGRAPHIC REVOLUTION reveals the changing social functions of Iranian cinema and the artistic struggle of its filmmakers.
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