Description from TIFF 2006 catalog by Thom Powers:
Every country~s cinema deserves a history as good as this. Iran: Une Re~ volution cine~ matographique traces the evolution of Iranian film and its relation to the country~s political and social milieu. A dazzling array of film clips is intercut with remarkable archival footage of Iran during periods of both war and peace.
Director Nader Takmil Homayoun extracts marvellous interviews from top Iranian directors and film historians about the country~s progression of cinematic movements. Whether you~ve seen dozens of Iranian films or none, their eloquent storytelling will make you feel like an expert.
In 1933, one of Iran~s first features, Haji Agha, the Cinema Actor, was directed by Ovanes Ohanian. That film set the tone for the struggle between film~s irresistible lure and censorship. It~s about a pious man who deeply opposes the cinema until he sees himself onscreen and changes his mind. In the late fifties, a cinema dominated by escapism gave way to the emergence of social realism with films like Farokh Ghafari~s South of the City, a gritty tale of street violence. In the seventies, a new wave arose with films such as Fereydoun Goleh~s Under the Skin of the Night, about a Tehran man and an American woman desperately trying to consummate their love. That same decade saw the birth of a poetic aesthetic in films like Sohrab Shahid Saless~s A Simple Event, about a poor boy caring for his sick mother.
We learn how Massud Kimiai~~~s Journey of the Stone, about an Islamic uprising, and other titles anticipated the 1979 revolution. We also learn how film was used as a tool of propaganda for the Iran-Iraq war, and used to oppose such propaganda with the anti-war positions of titles such as Amir Naderi~s Second Search, filmed in a city under siege.
Filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf supplies one of the most memorable interviews, observing that the prohibition of American movies in his country allowed Iranian filmmakers to develop their own visual language. That~s the only positive thing he can say about censorship. “Why are ninety percent of cinemas in the grip of Hollywood?” he asks, “Do other countries not have thinkers or images, dreams or sorrows?” By the end of this documentary, you~ll be hungry for more.
About the director:
Nader Takmil Homayoun was born in Paris and studied filmmaking in France at l~E~ cole Nationale Supe~ neure des Metiers de l~Image et du son (FEMIS). He has directed several short films including Cache-cache (95), Autour de Mortin (97), Les Fleurs de l~Alge~ rien (98) and C~est pour biento~~t (00). Iran: Une Re~ volution cine~ matographique (06) is his first feature-length documentary.
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