Although its history dates back over a century, Iranian film only began to acquire an international reputation in the 1990s, as the humanist features of Abbas Kiarostami and Mohsen Makhmalbaf started to find an audience beyond the festival circuit. Centring on a fan who tries to pass himself off as Makhmalbaf, Kiarostami's Close-Up (1990) set the tone for the wry studie... [+]
Although its history dates back over a century, Iranian film only began to acquire an international reputation in the 1990s, as the humanist features of Abbas Kiarostami and Mohsen Makhmalbaf started to find an audience beyond the festival circuit. Centring on a fan who tries to pass himself off as Makhmalbaf, Kiarostami's Close-Up (1990) set the tone for the wry studies of ordinary people that stood in stark contrast to the impression presented in the Western media of life inside the Islamic Republic. But Kiarostami grew more critical of the authorities as the decade progressed, with the Palme d'or-winning Taste of Cherry (1997) and The Wind Will Carry Us (1999) conveying his sense of frustration with restrictions that were imposed even more stringently upon women.
As Kiarostami focused on women's faces in Ten (2002) and Shirin (2008), he began to simplify his technique to the point where it essentially became avant-garde in Five (2003). While he was forced to move abroad to complete projects like Certified Copy (2010), Makhmalbaf remained in Iran to encourage his daughter Samira and wife Marzieh Meshkini to tackle the plight of women and children in such deceptively trenchant pictures as The Apple (1998), At Five in the Afternoon (2003) and Stray Dogs (2004), which found echo in works by Majid Majidi (Children of Heaven, 1997), Rafi Pitts (Sanam, 2000) and Jafar Panahi (Offside, 2006).
However, just as films about ethnic minorities and cultural non-conformists like Bahman Ghobadi's Half Moon (2006) and No One Knows About Persian Cats (2009) had critics hoping that Iran was fostering a Cinema of Moral Anxiety similar to the one that presaged the emergence of Solidarity in Poland in the 1980s, the authorities clamped down on freedom of expression after the failure of the Green Wave. Consequently, Asghar Farhadi's Oscar win for A Separation (2011) was virtually ignored, while Panahi, under house arrest and banned from directing for offending the ultra-conservative regime, was reduced to smuggling This Is Not a Film (2011) out of the country on a memory stick hidden inside a cake. [-]
Iranian Film Film Listing
Asghar Farhadi, 2009
A gripping and powerful tale of secrets and lies from Asghar Farhadi, the Oscar-winning director ...
Majid Majidi, 1997
The accidental loss of a pair of shoes causes problems for a young Iranian boy in Children of Hea...
Abbas Kiarostami, 2010
The story of a couple's apparent chance meeting in beautiful Tuscany. He (William Shimell) is a B...
Samira Makhmalbaf, 1997
One of the first films of the Iranian New Wave, ‘The Apple’ is the extraordinary debut of Samira ...
Abbas Kiarostami, 1999
A traditional village with its old rituals is visited by two strangers whose intentions are obscu...
Abbas Kiarostami, 1990
Kiarostami's masterpiece, depicting in documentary fashion an unemployed man's attempt to imperso...
Abbas Kiarostami, 2002
Set entirely inside a woman taxi driver's car in Tehran, Kiarostami continues with his exploratio...
Rafi Pitts, 2010
A brooding thriller, The Hunter stars writer/director Rafi Pitts as Ali, a man wh...
Three directors create a portmanteau film of human interaction set on a single train journey from...
Babak Jalali, 2009
The debut feature of Iranian-born and London-based writer/director Babak Jalali, Frontier Blues i...
Rafi Pitts, 2000
An affecting drama from Rafi Pitts (It's Winter, The Hunter) that tells the story of Sanam, a wom...
Marzieh Meshkini, 2004
Meshkini's beautifully crafted and moving insight into post-Taliban Afghanistan follows the fortu...