Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A Great Documentary on Iran's Film Industry

One of the great things about Netflix is its collection of foreign movies. You can imagine how surprised I was to find a great documentary on Iran’s film industry. “Iran: A Cinematographic Revolution” directed by Nader T. Homayoun and released in 2007 is indeed a masterpiece. The introduction page of the film reads:

Despite political turmoil and cultural isolation -- and sometimes even because of them Iran has served as fertile ground for filmmakers for more than seven decades, as witnessed by this tribute to Persian cinema from Nader Takmil Homayoun. From escapism to social realism, the new wave of the 1970s and the more poetic films of recent years, this homage traces the history of Iranian filmmaking through a fascinating array of clips and interviews.”

It is an excellent documentary! It begins its story by reviewing the beginning of cinema and film industry in Iran, then it covers some of pre-revolution controversial movies and then it moves to tell the story of a cinema in the turmoil of revolution. The movie producers have interviewed a diverse number of Iran's directors; their cast includes great and celebrated names such as Makhmalbaf, Qobadi, Panahi and Hatamikia. This movie is their story, the story of how they made films in 7 minutes intervals between missiles attacks on Tehran and how they created an Iranian genre under the eyes of a censor. If you want to learn something about Iran and its film industry you have to see this movie. It is a must see for everyone.
As an economist it was interesting for me to notice that how many directors pointed out that there is no self sufficient film industry in Iran for their genre. Since this means lack of demand, it made me think that how many consumers would like to see a movie in order to entertain, rather than to think. After all that is one of the functions of a movie.
I also wonder if Iranian movie makers are thinking of branching into other Farsi speaking countries such as Afghanistan and Tajikistan, may be the assembly of markets I n these countries and Iran could provide a large enough demand for a self sufficient movie industry.

1 comment:

Blanch said...

exactly: no self sufficient film industry in Iran for their genre. Since this means lack of demand