A Social History of Iranian Cinema, Volume 1: The Artisanal by Hamid Naficy

By Hamid Naficy

Hamid Naficy is without doubt one of the world’s major experts on Iranian movie, and A Social background of Iranian Cinema is his magnum opus. overlaying the overdue 19th century to the early twenty-first and addressing documentaries, well known genres, and paintings motion pictures, it explains Iran’s abnormal cinematic construction modes, in addition to the function of cinema and media in shaping modernity and a contemporary nationwide identification in Iran. This finished social heritage unfolds throughout 4 volumes, every one of that are preferred on its own.

Volume 1 depicts and analyzes the early years of Iranian cinema. movie used to be brought in Iran in 1900, 3 years after the country’s first advertisement movie exhibitor observed the hot medium in nice Britain. An artisanal cinema subsidized by way of the ruling shahs and different elites quickly emerged. The presence of girls, either at the reveal and in motion picture homes, proved arguable till 1925, whilst Reza Shah Pahlavi dissolved the Qajar dynasty. Ruling until eventually 1941, Reza Shah carried out a Westernization application meant to unite, modernize, and secularize his multicultural, multilingual, and multiethnic state. Cinematic representations of a fast-modernizing Iran have been inspired, the veil was once outlawed, and dandies flourished. whilst, images, motion picture construction, and picture homes have been tightly managed. movie creation finally proved marginal to country formation. purely 4 silent characteristic motion pictures have been produced in Iran; of the 5 Persian-language sound gains proven within the kingdom ahead of 1941, 4 have been made via an Iranian expatriate in India.

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Extra info for A Social History of Iranian Cinema, Volume 1: The Artisanal Era

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One fine, sunny, wintry day the haunting music coming from Dehesh’s household attracted me, and I went up to our rooftop to investigate. From there I could see Dehesh’s yard paved with brick, in the center of which sat a raised, oblong pool. Four garden plots separated the pool from the paved yard, and four thirsty tongues of the yard reached between those plots and rested on the side of the pool. It was a cold day, and the white mulberry trees in the garden were bare. To my amazement I observed that it was Keyvan who was playing this beautiful tune on his violin as he walked around the pool casting his shadow on the gently rippling water.

I was thrilled and grateful. Five decades later, I am struck by this irony: gaining a second sight with the camera at the age of thirteen or fourteen thanks to a sightless boy. Using this camera I documented bicycle outings with my family and excursions with school friends to the countryside—Kuleh Parcheh, Abshar, Chiriun, Kuh Donbeh, Atashgah, and Bagh Abrisham. I felt lonely most of the time in those days, and taking pictures helped cement our relationships, as for weeks afterward we traded and copied photographs.

As an ele­mentary school student in an experimental “model school” (Dabestan-e Nemuneh), planned and funded by the Point 4 Program of the United States ho w it all began xlv Information Agency (usia), I was exposed to many of these films on a regular basis. Every Thursday afternoon (the day before the weekend), a green mobile film unit—a Jeep station wagon—would drive into our schoolyard. A young Iranian wearing a gray suit and tie, the driver who doubled as the projectionist, would emerge to set up his portable screen and 16mm Bell & Howell projector in our assembly hall.

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