A Social History of Iranian Cinema by Hamid Naficy
Call Number: PN1993.5.I846 N34
Publication Date: 2011-09-16
Iran's first commercial film exhibitor viewed film in Great Britain in 1897; three years later, films were introduced in Iran. An artisanal cinema industry sponsored by the ruling shahs and other elites soon emerged. The presence of women, both on the screen and in moviehouses, proved controversial until 1925, when Reza Shah Pahlavi dissolved the Qajar dynasty. Ruling until 1941, Shah Pahlavi was an aggressive modernizer. The state implemented a Westernization program intended to unite and secularize the multicultural, multilingual, and multiethnic country. Cinematic representations of a fast-modernizing Iran were encouraged, the veil was outlawed, and dandies flourished. At the same time, photography, movie production, and movie houses were tightly controlled. Film production ultimately proved marginal to state formation. Only one silent feature film was produced in Iran; the few sound feature films shown in the country before 1941 were made by an Iranian expatriate in India.