Iranian movies and serials

Iranian movies and serials DEFAULT

Best Iranian Romantic Movies

Movies for Persian Learners

Highest Grossing Iranian Movies

10 Must-Watch Iranian Movies before traveling to Iran

Top 10 Iranian Comedy Movies

Top 10 Female Performances in Iranian Movies

Top 10 Iranian films based on a true story

Best Iranian Romantic Comedies

Top 10 Shahab Hosseini Movies

Heartwarming Iranian Movies

Best Iranian Redemption Movies

Top 10 Leila Hatami Movies

Essential Iranian Comedies

Top Iranian Road Films

Iranian Movies You Must Watch

Iranian Cinema and the Islamic Revolution


Cinema of Iran

Overview of the cinema of Iran

Cinema of Iran
Iran film clapperboard.svg
No. of screens596 (2018)[1]
 • Per capita0.7 per 100,000 (2018)
National films28,514,921
Total$23.8 million

The Cinema of Iran (Persian: سینمای ایران), also known as the Cinema of Persia, refers to the cinema and film industries in Iran which produce a variety of commercial films annually. Iranianart films have garnered international fame and now enjoy a global following.[4] Iranian films are usually written and spoken in the Persian language. Iranian cinema has had many ups and downs.[5]

Along with China, Iran has been lauded as one of the best exporters of cinema in the 1990s.[6] Some critics now rank Iran as the world's most important national cinema, artistically, with a significance that invites comparison to Italian neorealism and similar movements in past decades.[4] A range of international film festivals have honoured Iranian cinema in the last twenty years. Many film critics from around the world have praised Iranian cinema as one of the world's most important artistic cinemas.[7]


Main article: Pre-revolutionary Iranian cinema

Contemporary Iranian cinema[edit]

Today, the Iranian box office is dominated by commercial Iranian films. Western films are occasionally shown in movie theaters. and contemporary Hollywood productions are shown on state television. Iranian art films are often not screened officially, and are viewable via unlicensed DVDs which are available. Some of these acclaimed films were screened in Iran and had box office success. Examples include Rassul Sadr Ameli's "I’m Taraneh, 15", Rakhshan Bani-Etemad's "Under the skin of the City", Bahman Ghobadi's "Marooned in Iraq" and Manijeh Hekmat's "Women's Prison".[8]

Commercial cinema in Iran[edit]

The internationally award-winning cinema of Iran is quite different from the domestically oriented films. The latter caters to an entirely different audience, which is largely under the age of 25. This commercial Iranian cinema genre is largely unknown in the West, as the films are targeted at local audiences. There are Three categories of this type of film:

  • Films before the revolution.

Lor Girl, A Party in Hell, Qeysar, Dar Emtedade Shab, Amir Arsalan, and Ganj-e Qarun.

  • Films about the victory of the Iranian Revolution of 1979 and the ensuing Iran–Iraq war and Action filled with strong religious and national motifs.

Eagles, Barzakhiha, The Viper, Dadshah, Boycott, Duel, Taraj, Ekhrajiha, The Glass Agency, Kani Manga, Ofogh, Bashu, the Little Stranger, Leily Ba Man Ast, M as in Mother and The Night Bus.

  • Formulaic films starring popular actors. With 130 Iranian films looking for a screening each year, cinema managers tend to prefer crowd-pleasing comedies, romantic melodramas, and family comedies over the other genres.[9]The Lizard, The Blue-Veiled, Ghermez, Leila, Outsiders, Char Changooli, Kolah Ghermezi and Pesar Khaleh, Kolah Ghermezi and Bache Naneh, Actor, Ejareh-Nesheenha, Shokaran, Dayere Zangi, Aquarium, Cease Fire, No Men Allowed, The Changed Man, Charlatan, The Kingdom of Solomon, Guidance Patrol, Killing Mad Dogs, A Separation and Hush! Girls Don't Scream were among the post-revolutionary films that gained the highest box office records.[10][11][12]

For many years, the most visible face of Iranian commercial cinema was Mohammad Ali Fardin, who starred in a number of popular successful films. In the more conservative social climate of Iran after the Iranian Revolution of 1979, however, he came to be considered an embarrassment to Iranian national identity and his films — which depicted romance, alcohol, vulgarity, objectification of women, scantily-dressed men and women, nightclubs, and a vulgar lifestyle now condemned by the Islamic government — were banned. Although this would effectively prevent Fardin from making films for the remainder of his life, the ban did little to diminish his broad popularity with Iranian moviegoers: His funeral in Tehran was attended by 20,000 mourners.[13] Before Fardin, one could argue, Iran simply did not have a commercial cinema.[14]

During the war years, crime thrillers such as Senator, The Eagles, Boycott, The Tenants, and Kani Manga occupied the first position on the sales charts.[15]

Officially, the Iranian government disdains American cinema: in 2007 President Ahmadinejad's media adviser told the Fars news agency, "We believe that the American cinema system is devoid of all culture and art and is only used as a device."[16] However, numerous Western commercial films such as Jaws, The Illusionist, Passion of the Christ, House of Sand and Fog, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, Sherlock Holmes, Alpha and Omega, Scarface, Casino Royale, The Mechanic, and The Aviator have been screened in Iranian cinemas and Iranian film festivals since the revolution. Despite great pride in the country's more than 100-year film history, Western cinema is enormously popular among Iran's young people, and practically every recent Hollywood film is available on CD, DVD, or video.[8][17][18][19] State television has also broadcast more Western movies—partly because millions of Iranians have been switching to the use of banned satellite television equipment.[19]

Iranian New Wave films[edit]

Main article: Iranian New Wave

Bahram Bayzai, voted the best Persian filmmaker of all time in 2002

Iranian New Wave refers to a new movement in Iranian cinema. According to film critic Eric Henderson, the acclaimed documentary The House Is Black (خانه سیاه است) directed by Forough Farrokhzad (famous Iranian poet and director) paved the way for the Iranian New Wave.[20] The movement started in 1964 with Hajir Darioush's second film Serpent's Skin, which was based on D.H. Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover featuring Fakhri Khorvash and Jamshid Mashayekhi. Darioush's two important early social documentaries But Problems Arose in 1965, dealing with the cultural alienation of the Iranian youth, and Face 75, a critical look at the westernization of the rural culture, which was a prizewinner at the 1965 Berlin Film Festival, were also contributing significantly to the establishment of the New Wave.

In 1968, after the release of Shohare Ahoo Khanoom directed by Davoud Mollapour, and the 1969 release of The Cow directed by Darius Mehrjui followed by Masoud Kimiai's Qeysar, and Nasser Taqvai's Tranquility in the Presence of Others, the New Wave became well established as a prominent cultural, dynamic and intellectual trend. The Iranian viewer became discriminating, encouraging the new trend to prosper and develop.[21] In the 1960s, there were 'New Wave' movements in the cinema of numerous countries. The pioneers of the Iranian New Wave were directors like Forough Farrokhzad, Sohrab Shahid Saless, Bahram Beizai, and Parviz Kimiavi. They made innovative art films with highly political and philosophical tones and poetic language. Subsequent films of this type have become known as the New Iranian cinema to distinguish them from their earlier roots. The most notable figures of the Iranian New Wave are Abbas Kiarostami, Jafar Panahi, Majid Majidi, Bahram Beizai, Darius Mehrjui, Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Khosrow Sinai, Sohrab Shahid-Saless, Parviz Kimiavi, Samira Makhmalbaf, Amir Naderi, and Abolfazl Jalili.

The factors leading to the rise of the New Wave in Iran were, in part, due to the intellectual and political movements of the time. A romantic climate was developing after the 19 August 1953 coup in the sphere of arts. Alongside this, a socially committed literature took shape in the 1950s and reached a peak in the 1960s, which may consider as the golden era of contemporary Persian literature.[22]

Features of New Wave Iranian film, in particular the works of legendary Abbas Kiarostami, can be classified as postmodern.[23]

Iranian New Wave films shared some characteristics with the European art films of the period, in particular Italian Neorealism. However, in her article 'Real Fictions', Rose Issa argues that Iranian films have a distinctively Iranian cinematic language

"that champions the poetry in everyday life and the ordinary person by blurring the boundaries between fiction and reality, feature film with documentary." She also argues that this unique approach has inspired European cinema directors to emulate this style, citing Michael Winterbottom's award winning In This World (2002) as an homage to contemporary Iranian cinema. Issa claims that "This new, humanistic aesthetic language, determined by the film-makers’ individual and national identity, rather than the forces of globalism, has a strong creative dialogue not only on home ground but with audiences around the world."[24]

In his book Close Up: Iranian Cinema, Past, Present, Future (2001) Hamid Dabashi describes modern Iranian cinema and the phenomenon of [Iranian] national cinema as a form of cultural modernity. According to Dabashi, "the visual possibility of seeing the historical person (as opposed to the eternal Qur'anic man) on screen is arguably the single most important event allowing Iranians access to modernity."

While Beyzai and Taghvai represent the first generation and Karim-Masihi and Kiarostami represent the second generation of New wave filmmakers, the third generation is represented by Rafi Pitts, Bahman Ghobadi, Maziar Miri, Asghar Farhadi, Mani Haghighi, and Babak Payami,[25][26] along with newly emerged filmmakers such as Saman Salur and Abdolreza Kahani.

Iranian popular art films[edit]

Parallel to the Iranian New Wave, with its neorealist and minimalist art cinema, there exists a so-called "popular art cinema" in Iran. Filmmakers who belong to this circle make films with a broader range of audience than the narrow spectrum of highly educated people who admire the New Wave, but believe that their movies are also artistically sound. Filmmakers such as Nasser Taghvaee and Ali Hatami are the best examples of this cinematic movement (some of these filmmakers also make new wave films e.g. Mum's Guest by Darius Mehrjui).[22] The Demon and the Bald Hassan, Adam and Eve, The Fisherman's Story, City of Oranges, and Talisman are some of Hatami's works.

Iranian women's cinema[edit]

Following the rise of the Iranian New Wave, there are now record numbers of film school graduates in Iran and each year more than 20 new directors make their debut films, many of them women. In the last two decades, there have been a higher percentage of women directors in Iran than in most countries in the West.[24] Samira Makhmalbaf directed her first film, The Apple, when she was only 17 years old and won the Cannes Jury Prize in 2000 for her following film The Blackboard.

The success and hard work of the pioneering Rakhshan Bani-Etemad is an example that many women directors in Iran were following much before Samira Makhmalbaf made the headlines And the current Tahmineh Milani, Niki Karimi.[27] Internationally recognized figures in Iranian women's cinema are:

Besides women involved in screenwriting and filmmaking, numerous award-winning Iranian actresses with uniques styles and talents attract critic. The first Iranian actress who won an award for acting in a major film festival was Mary Apick. The most notable Iranian actresses are:

  • Niki Karimi, Best Actor Award, Nantes Film Festival and San Sebastián International Film Festival 1999, Best Actress in Cairo Film Festival 2001, Crystal Simorgh for Best Actor Fajr International Film Festival 2003, Best Actress Taormina International Film Festival 1999 and Bastone Bianco Award Torino Film Festival 2005
  • Leila Hatami Best Actor Award Locarno International Film Festival 2012, Montreal World Film Festival 2002 and Silver Berlin Bear 2011
  • Fatemeh Motamed-Arya, Crystal Simorgh for the Best Actress, the 7th, 10th, 11th, and 12th Fajr International Film Festival Best Actress Vesoul Asian Film Festival 2010 and Best Actress Montreal World Film Festival 2011
  • Shohreh Aghdashloo, First Iranian woman to be nominated for an Academy Award and Satellite Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture 2009 and Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Female 2003
  • Pegah Ahangarani, Best Actress Award Cairo International Film Festival 1999 and Crystal Simorgh for Best Supporting Actor from Fajr International Film Festival 2013
  • Taraneh Alidousti, Best Actor Award, Locarno International Film Festival 2002, Best Actress Osian's Cinefan Festival of Asian and Arab Cinema 2012 Best Actress Vesoul Asian Film Festival 2013 and Crystal Simorgh for best actress from Fajr International Film Festival 2002
  • Mary Apick, Best Actress Award Moscow International Film Festival 1977
  • Hedieh Tehrani, Crystal Simorgh for best Actress from Fajr International Film Festival 1998, 2006 and Best actress Pyongyang International Film Festival 2002
  • Golshifteh Farahani, Best Actor from International Section of Fajr International Film Festival 1997 and Best Actress award from Nantes Three Continents Film Festival 2004
  • Fereshteh Sadre Orafaee, Crystal Simorgh for Best Actor from Fajr International Film Festival 2005 and Best Actress Pasinetti Award Venice Film Festival 2000
  • Bita Farrahi, Best Actress from Pyongyang International Film Festival 2009
  • Soraya Ghasemi, Crystal Simorgh for Best Actor from Fajr International Film Festival 2001
  • Mahtab Keramati, Crystal Simorgh for Best Supporting Actor from Fajr International Film Festival 2009 and for best actress from Batumi Art-House Film Festival 2013
  • Susan Taslimi, Best Actor award, International Academy of Film Sweden 2000
  • Farimah Farjami, Crystal Simorgh for Best Actor from Fajr International Film Festival 1991
  • Azita Hajian, Crystal Simorgh for Best Actor from Fajr International Film Festival 1999
  • Roya Teymourian, Crystal Simorgh for Best Supporting Actor from Fajr International Film Festival 2000
  • Katayoun Riahi, Best Actress Cairo International Film Festival 2002
  • Roya Nonahali, Best Actress from Amiens International Film Festival 1977 and Crystal Simorgh for Best Actor from Fajr International Film Festival 1989
  • Mitra Hajjar, Crystal Simorgh for Best Actor from Fajr International Film Festival 2000
  • Mahnaz Afshar, Crystal Simorgh for Best Supporting Actor from Fajr International Film Festival 2011
  • Baran Kosari, Crystal Simorgh for Best Actor from Fajr International Film Festival 2007
  • Hanieh Tavassoli, Crystal Simorgh for Best Actor from Fajr International Film Festival 2013
  • Negar Javaherian, Best Actress, UNESCO Award from Asia Pacific Screen Awards 2013 and Crystal Simorgh for Best Actor from Fajr International Film Festival 2010
  • Pantea Bahram, Best Actress from Mumbai International Film Festival 2011
  • Hengameh Ghaziani, Crystal Simorgh for Best Actor from Fajr International Film Festival 2008, 2012 and Best Actress Love Is Folly International Film Festival 2012

Furthermore, women's resistance against the symbolic order in the society has been demonstrated in different movies such as The Little Rusty Brains by Houman Seyedi

Iranian war films[edit]

See also: Sacred Defense cinema

War cinema in Iran was born simultaneously with the beginning of Iran–Iraq War. However, it took many years until it found its way and identity by defining characteristics of Iranian war cinema. In the Alleys of Love (1990), by Khosrow Sinai, shows the most poematic view on the Iran Iraq war and still after years, is one of the leading films about this historical event from a humanistic aspect, although unlike other Iranian war cinema which are fully supported by the Iranian government this film was made with numerous difficulties. In the past decades, the Iranian film industry has produced many war films. In the Iranian war film genre, war has often been portrayed as glorious and "holy", bringing out the good in the protagonist and pandering to nationalist sentiments with propagandistic messaging. Tears of Cold and Duel were two films that have gone beyond the traditional view of war.[28] Many renowned directors were involved in developing Iranian war cinema:[29]

Other films famous and popular Iran Iraq War: Goodbye Life directed by Ensieh Shah-Hosseini, Heeva, Mazrae-ye pedari and Safar be Chazabeh directed by Rasoul Mollagholipour, Kirkuk Operation, Hoor on Fire and Kani Manga directed by Seifollah Dad. Che, Az Karkheh ta Rhein, Mohajer and The Red Ribbon directed by Ebrahim Hatamikia. Big Drum Under Left Foot directed by Kazem Masoumi. Gilaneh directed by Rakhshan Bani-E'temad. The Day Third directed by Mohammad Hossein Latifi. The Reward of Silence directed by Maziar Miri. Sizdah 59 directed by Saman Salur. The Queen directed by Mohammad Ali Bashe Ahangar. Mardi shabih-e baran directed by Saeed Soheili. Bashu, the Little Stranger directed by Bahram Beyzai. Snake Fang directed by Masoud Kimiai and Hoor dar Atash directed by Azizollah Hamidnezhad.

Iranian animations[edit]

See also: History of Iranian animation

There exist some evidences suggesting that Ancient Iranians made animations. An animated piece on an earthen goblet made 5000 years ago was found in Burnt City in Sistan-Baluchistan province, southeastern Iran. The artist has portrayed a goat that jumps toward a tree and eats its leaves.[30]

The first Tehran International Animation Festival was held in the year 1999, four decades after the time the production of first animation films in Iran. The Second Tehran International Animation Festival was held in February 2001. Apart from Iranian films, animations from 35 foreign countries participated in the festival.[31]

The following are among the notable filmmakers of Iranian animated films  :

Children and youth films[edit]

Although early attempts also existed, the Iranian children and youth cinema came of age with acclaimed director Mohammad Ali Talebi (b. 1958). He started his career in the 1980s and achieved success beyond Iran with Bag of Rice (1997) and Willow and Wind (2000), whose script was written by Abbas Kiarostami.[32]

Talebi believed that producing movies for children and teenagers was a service to “the most fragile and vulnerable of the Iranian society.” In the 2010s, he became somewhat skeptical about the future of children and youth cinema in Iran, and in 2018 moved to Slovakia.[33]

Timeline of Iranian films[edit]

Main article: List of Iranian films

Influence of Iranians on others' New Wave films[edit]

Amongst the pioneers of French New Wave were François Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard, Claude Chabrol and Eric Rohmer or Barbet Schroeder (born in Tehran, Iran in 1941 where his German geologist Father was on assignment).

During the first half of the 20th century, France was the major destination for Iranian students who wished to study abroad. Iranian Ambassador to the United NationsFereydoun Hoveyda was one of them. Fereydoun Hoveyda played a major role in French cultural scene and especially in the field of Cinema, for he was the protégé of François Truffaut whom he befriended and with whom he helped create the well-known film magazine Les Cahiers du Cinéma that spearheaded the French Nouvelle Vague or New Wave Cinema. He also worked closely with Italian film director Roberto Rossellini on several film scripts during that period. Fereydoun Hoveyda was not the only Iranian of his generation to play an active role in promoting the French Cinéma d'Auteur. Youssef Ishaghpour is another example.[34]

Another Iranian figure in French New Wave was Shusha Guppy a singer, writer and filmmaker who was Jacques Prévert's girlfriend. However, the most important contribution to the French New Wave cinema is that of Serge Rezvani an Iranian poet born in Tehran in 1928. He played a major role as music composer of both François TruffautJules et Jim and Jean-Luc GodardPierrot le Fou, considered as landmarks of French New Wave Cinema. Farah Diba studied at the Beaux Arts and became the focus of attention and the French press was to see her as the new Persian Cinderella. Farah Diba was one of the rare foreign dignitaries to become a permanent member of the French Académie des Beaux-Arts.

Iranian Robert Hossein (son of legendary musician Aminollah Hossein) started his acting career with his French Armenian friend Chahnour Varinag Aznavourian (known as the famed crooner Charles Aznavour) in the mid fifties essentially type cast as "Mr. Tough Guy". However he got international acclaim in the early Sixties particularly in Europe, Russia and Asia as the mysterious "Jeoffrey, Comte de Peyrac" lover of the lovely Michèle Mercier in the soft erotic-adventure film series of Angélique Marquise des Anges. In the seventies and eighties he was to play opposite Jean-Paul Belmondo in police thrillers like The Professional. Hossein became known for being a talented theater director and his taste for popular historical vehicles involving large sets and numerous actors.[34]

After the resignation of French President Charles de Gaulle, Iranian Anicée Shahmanesh became known under the screen name Anicée Alvina, playing a French girl in a British film hit called Friends, the music score of which propelled British pop star Elton John. She was also to take on a courageous lesbian role in the screen adaptation of Françoise Mallet-Joris' novel Le Rempart des Béguines.

Two major documentaries were produced in these years by respectively Agnès Varda and the duo Claude Lelouch and Claude Pinoteau:

  • Agnès Varda, first to be discovered to young actor Gérard Depardieu in her 1970 film Nausicaa, directed a love story set in Isfahan (1976) between a French woman (Valérie Mairesse) visiting Iran as a tourist and her guide an Iranian Man (Ali Raffi). The film was entitled Plaisir D'Amour en Iran. The romantic film was shot on location in The Masjed Shah.
  • Claude Pinoteau and Claude Lelouch on the other hand shot their documentary just after the Persepolis Celebrations in 1971. They decided to address the urban transformations and cultural emancipation that the country was subject to by the early seventies.

Several Iranian expats such as Philippe Khorsand or Persian play writer/actor Yasmina Reza have also gained notice in recent years. The latter is particularly known for her highly intellectual introspection in such plays like Art (for which Sean Connery bought the film rights, advised by his French wife).[34]

Music in Iranian cinema[edit]

Although Iranian composers usually have their own special style and music structure, they all share one thing: melodic, lively rhythms. That might be because they often begin with folkloric songs and shift to film music. In the past few decades, a few composers have emerged in the Iranian cinema with highly appraised works. Composers like Hormoz Farhat, Morteza Hannaneh, Fariborz Lachini, Ahmad Pejman, Majid Entezami, Babak Bayat, Karen Homayounfar, Naser Cheshmazar and Hossein Alizadeh were some of the most successful score composers for Iranian films in the past decades.[35]

Iranian international film festivals[edit]

Film festivals have a rather long history in Iran that goes back to the 1950s. The first Tehran International Film Festival opened in April 1973. Although the festival never reached the level of Cannes and Venice, however, it managed to become well known as a class A festival. It was a highly reputable festival and many well-known filmmakers took part in it with their films. Great filmmakers such as Francesco Rosi, Michelangelo AntonioniGrigori Kozintsev, Elizabeth Taylor, Pietro Germi, Nikita Mikhalkov, Krzysztof Zanussi, Martin Ritt won the festival's awards.[36]

Fajr Film Festival[edit]

Main article: Fajr International Film Festival

The Fajr International Film Festival has taken place since 1983. It was intended to be as magnificent and spectacular as possible from its very onset. It had a background as powerful as that of the Tehran International Film Festival and wanted to remain on the same track. Although the Fajr Film Festival is not yet classed among the top film festivals, it has been successful in making policies and setting examples for the future of Iranian cinema.[36] In its early years it had a competition section for professional as well as amateur film (8 mm, 16 mm). Since 1990, there has been an international along with the national competition. The festival also features a competition for advertisement items like posters, stills and trailers. In 2005, the festival added competitions for Asian as well as spiritual films. The top prize is called Crystal Simorgh.[37]

NAM Filmmakers' Meeting[edit]

Iran is the current President of the Non-Aligned Movement and hosted the 16th NAM summit between 26 and 31 August 2012, after which the presidency was handed to Ahmadinejad on 1 September. The latest move by the NAM Chairman has been to organise a NAM filmmakers' meeting in order to discuss the establishment of a NAM filmmakers' union. The meeting is to be held in February 2013, concurrently with the 31st Fajr International Film Festival in Tehran.[38]

International Film Festival for Children and Youth[edit]

The International Film Festival for Children and Youth has taken place since 1985. In its first three years, it was part of the Fajr Film Festival. From 1988 to 1989, it was located in Tehran, and since then in Isfahan, except for 1996 when it was held in Kerman. The festival features international and national film and video competitions. The top prize is called Golden Butterfly.[39]

House of Cinema Ceremony[edit]

Main article: House of Cinema Ceremony

On September 12, the national day of Iranian cinema, a celebration is held annually by the House of Cinema. In the 2006 event, Akira Kurosawa was honored.

Noor Iranian Film Festival[edit]

Founded in 2007, the Noor Iranian Film Festival is held annually in Los Angeles, California.

Iranian Film Festival - San Francisco[edit]

Iranian Film Festival - San Francisco (IFF), the first independent Iranian film festival outside of Iran, launched in 2008, is an annual event showcasing independent feature and short films made by or about Iranians from around the world. Website.

London Iranian Film Festival[edit]

Main article: London Iranian Film Festival

is an annual, independent film festival held in London, United Kingdom. It is now entering its fourth year. It is the only festival in the UK that is dedicated to Iranian independent cinema, with this year's event taking place from the 1st to the 9th of November.

Roshd International Film Festival[edit]

Main article: Roshd International Film Festival

Roshd International Film Festival was first staged in 1963 by the Bureau of Audio-visual Activities of the Ministry of Education of Iran. It is centered on the films with educational and pedagogical themes and is staged every year by the Supplying Educational Media Center, a sub-branch of the Ministry of Education of the I.R.Iran. The Festival seeks the main objectives of identifying and selecting the best educational and pedagogical films in order to introduce them to the educational systems.

Persian International Film Festival[edit]

Persian International Film Festival is an independent cultural film event, that brings together screen stories of diverse global Persian communities. Founded in 2012 by Dr Amin Palangi, it is Located in Sydney, Australia.

Iranian Film Festival Zurich[edit]

Iranian Film Festival of Zürich (IFFZ), is being organized to fulfill the cultural gap between Iranians and Swiss along with the foreigners living in Switzerland. The festival also wishes to contribute to the host country by bringing every year the best feature, documentary and short films from all generation of the Iranian filmmakers to Zürich. The IFFZ wishes that this becomes a platform for presenting the Iranian culture and tradition and build a bridge in such an exceptional city of Zürich among many nations present by the universal language of art and specifically the 7th art, cinema.

Festival of Iranian Films in Prague[edit]

The main goal of the festival is to provide a vivid image of Iranian cinema for a wide range of international audiences in the Prague, Czech Republic.

Iranian Film Festival Cologne[edit]

Iranian film Festival is programmed to be held in the city of Cologne in Germany to represent the country Cinema industry. House of Cinema in collaboration with Cologne Municipality paved the way for holding the festival.

The Festival Cinema of Iran[edit]

Iranian film festival (Cinéma D'Iran) is scheduled to kick off on June 26 and will run until July 2, 2013 in Paris.

Houston Iranian Film Festival[edit]

The Houston Iranian Film Festival showcases the best in new cinema from Iran. Iranian film varied by jury is, In Houston, America will be held.

Tehran International Animation Festival[edit]

International Animation Festival in Iran Held in Tehran.

Other Festival[edit]

Other valid festival like: Iran International Documentary Film Festival, Moqavemat International Film Festival, International Film Festival 100, International Urban Film Festival, International Parvin Etesami Film Festival, Jasmine International Film Festival (TJIFF), Celebration of Iran Cinematic Critics and Writers, Rouyesh Religious Short Film Festival, Iranian Youth Cinema Society, Edinburgh Iranian Festival, Iranian Film Festival (IFF), Iranian Film Festival Chandigarh, Film Festival, Varesh Short Film Festival, Tehran International Video Film Festival, International Festival of Independent Filmmakers, and Canada's Iranian Film Festival.

International recognition of Iranian cinema[edit]

Here is a list of Grand prizes awarded to Iranian cinema by the most prestigious film festivals:[40][41] Iranian serials are very popular in the region


First presence of Iranian cinema in Cannes dates back to 1991 when in the alleys of love by Khosrow Sinai and then 1992 when Life and nothing more won Palme d'Or by Abbas Kiarostami represented Iran in the festival.

Academy Awards (Oscars)[edit]

Golden Globe Awards[edit]





The first film from Iranian cinema that won a prize in Locarno festival was Where Is the Friend's Home? directed by Abbas Kiarostami (1989).

  • Golden Leopard: Jafar Panahi (1997), Ebrahim Forouzesh (1994)[51]
  • Silver Leopard: Kianoush Ayari (1994),[51]Abolfazl Jalili (1998), Hassan Yektapanah (2004)
  • Bronze Leopard: Nasser Taghvai (1988), Abbas Kiarostami (1989)
  • Special Jury Prize: Abolfazl Jalili (2001), Rasul Sadrameli (2002), Saman Salur (2006)
  • Leopard for the Best Actress: Taraneh Alidoosti (2002)
  • NETPAC Prize: Hassan Yektapanah (2004)
  • Special Mention, Official Jury: Samira Makhmalbaf (1996)
  • Special mention, FIBRESCI jury: Abbas Kiarostami (1989), Samira Makhmalbaf (1998)
  • Special Mention: Alireza Amini (2003)
  • Ecumenical Jury special Mention: Sohrab Shahid Saless (1976), Abbas Kiarostami (1989)


San Sebastian[edit]


Karlovy Vary[edit]

Mar del Plata[edit]





  • Golden Goblet for the Best Film: Reza Mirkarimi (2019)
  • Golden Goblet for the Best Director: Reza Mirkarimi (2019)
  • Golden Goblet for the Best Actor: Hamed Behdad (2019)
  • Golden Goblet for the Best Film: Khosro Masumi (2004 & 2012)
  • Grand Jury Prize: Mostafa Taghizadeh (2017)[62]
  • Golden Goblet for the Best Actress: Sareh Bayat (2017)











Lifelong achievement Awards[edit]

Bodil Awards[edit]

Satellite Award[edit]

César Award[edit]

David di Donatello Award[edit]

National Board of Review[edit]


Main article: Censorship in Iran

Although the Iranian film industry is flourishing, its filmmakers have operated under censorship rules, both before and after the revolution. Some Iranian films that have been internationally acclaimed are banned in Iran itself. Conversely, some Iranian filmmakers have faced hostility in other countries.

Censorship within Iran[edit]

Dariush Mehrjui's seminal film Gaav (The Cow, 1969) is now considered a pioneering work of the Iranian New Wave. The film was sponsored by the state, but they promptly banned it upon completion because its vision of rural life clashed with the progressive image of Iran that the Shah wished to project, while its prominence at international film festivals annoyed the regime.[75]

After the Iranian revolution, filmmakers experienced more restrictions. Since the mid-1980s, Iran's policy on film censorship has been changed in order to promote domestic film production: the strict censorship eased after December 1987. Old directors resurfaced and new ones emerged.[75] However, the application of the rules is often inconsistent. Several films have been refused release inside Iran, but have been given export permits to enter international film festivals. Even here, the censorship is inconsistent: May Lady by Rakhshan Bani-Etemad (1998) got through but her contribution to Stories of Kish (1999) did not.[76]

All of Jafar Panahi's films[77] have been banned from public theaters in Iran.[78]Offside was relegated to "a guest slot" at the International Fajr Film Festival. "It was not shown as an important film", says Panahi. "They didn't give any value to it."[78] Several of Mohsen Makhmalbaf's films are also banned in Iran. For example, Time of Love and The night of Zaiandeh-rood were banned for dealing with physical love and for raising doubts about the revolution.[79]

In 2001, feminist filmmaker Tahmineh Milani who made The Hidden Half was jailed because her movie was presumed anti-revolution (against the 1979 Islamic revolution). Many Iranian and international artists and filmmakers demanded her release. After 8 days of Imprisonment, Eventually President Khatami and the Minister of Culture were able to secure her release. In Nargess, Rakhshan Bani-Etemad who is a pioneer among female Iranian film directors, pushes censorship codes to the limits, questioning the morals of society, showing desperate people overwhelmed by social conditions and a couple living together without being married.[80]

Abbas Kiarostami was significantly acclaimed in Europe but the Islamic government has refused screening of his films in his own country. Kiarostami's films have been banned in his country for more than 10 years.[81] They are only accessible there through unauthorized DVDs and private screenings. Kiarostami is uncertain what the government dislikes about his films, saying "I think they don't understand my films and so they prevent them being shown just in case there is a message they don't want to get out."[1]. Despite this, Kiarostami has displayed an extraordinarily benign perspective, at least in recorded interviews: "The government is not in my way, but it is not assisting me either. We lead our separate lives."[82] Despite the censorship, Kiarostami insists on working in Iran, saying "I think I really produce my best work in Iran."[82] He believes that throughout the ages and all over the world censorship has existed in one form or another and artists have managed to live with this, saying "Today, the most important thing is that, although there is censorship, Iranian filmmakers are doing their job and they surpass the difficulties of censorship showing and discussing many things. So why ask me about what's not in the films? It has happened many times that a filmmaker hides a weakness under the excuse of censorship but difficulties have always existed in our lifestyle and our role is to surpass them."[83] The director Mohammed Rasoulof, was convicted of charges relating to state security and anti-government propaganda.[84] In 2009 and 2013 the number of political films and drama like Khers, Guidance Patrol, The Wooden Bridge, I am a Mother and Private Life (Zendegi Khosoosi) were Sanctioned.

House of Cinema temporary closure[edit]

In September 2011, House of Cinema issued a statement in support of several filmmakers detained for contact with the BBC. They questioned the legal basis for the arrests, pointing out that the government itself has contact with international news organizations.[85] As a result, they received an official rebuke.[86][87]

In December 2011, Iran's Council of Public Culture declared its ‘House of Cinema’, the country's largest professional organisation for film makers, illegal.[88] Authorities state the organization was shut down because of secret amendments to its charter.[89] House of Cinema came under pressure when it challenged the detention of filmmakers accused of selling films to the BBC.[90]

In September 2013, House of Cinema has been reopened by the new government.[91]


Given the tense relationship between Iran and the United States, Iranian filmmakers have faced hostility there, even if they have also been banned in their own country. Abbas Kiarostami was refused a visa to attend the New York Film Festival, Ohio University and Harvard University in 2002, in the wake of the September 11 attacks.[92][93][94] Festival director Richard Pena, who had invited him, said: "It's a terrible sign of what's happening in my country today that no one seems to realize or care about the kind of negative signal this sends out to the entire Muslim world".[95]Finnish film director Aki Kaurismäki boycotted the festival in protest.[96] Similarly, Bahman Ghobadi, winner of the Golden Plaque at the Chicago International Film Festival, refused to accept the prize in protest of the U.S. government's refusal to issue him a visa.[97] In 2007, Ahmed Issawi, the abashed Arab director of the New York South Asian Film Festival admitted that a conscious decision was made not to invite any Iranian filmmakers, saying "That's a territory I no longer want to tread [...] It's over. Given the whole thing with Iran—I refuse to approach it."[98]

Several other Iranian filmmakers have experienced hostilities from other countries. In November 2001 in Afghanistan, Taliban officials, who banned movies and most filmmaking, arrested three of Majid Majidi's crew members who were helping him secretly shoot Barefoot to Herat, a documentary on the country's internal refugees.[99]Samira Makhmalbaf also survived a kidnapping in Afghanistan. {West, Dennis and Makhmalbaf, Mohsen. "I Make Cinema in Order to Breathe: An Interview with Mohsen Makhmalbaf". Cinéaste. 34.4, Fall 2009: 10–15. JSTOR Web. 24 Apr. 2014}

In March 2007, a bomb explosion severely injuring several actors and crew members halted production in Afghanistan of Two Legged Horse, the film by Iranian helmer Samira Makhmalbaf. Mohsen Makhmalbaf was the target of two unsuccessful murder attempts when he shot Kandahar in Iran near the Afghan border in 2000, and his daughter Hana was twice the victim of a failed abduction attempt during the shooting of Samira's last film At Five in the Afternoon in the Afghan capital Kabul in 2002.[100]

Arresting filmmakers[edit]

On 1 March 2010, Jafar Panahi was arrested. He was taken from his home along with his wife Tahereh Saidi, daughter Solmaz Panahi, and 15 of his friends by plain-clothes officers to Evin Prison. Most were released 48 hours later, Mohammad Rasoulof and Mehdi Pourmoussa on 17 March 2010, but Panahi remained in section 209 inside Evin Prison. Panahi's arrest was confirmed by the government, but the charges were not specified. On April 14, 2010, Iran's Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance said that Panahi was arrested because he "tried to make a documentary about the unrest that followed the disputed 2009 re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad."On 18 May, Panahi sent a message to Abbas Baktiari, director of the Pouya Cultural Center, an Iranian-French cultural organization in Paris, stating that he was being mistreated in prison and his family threatened and as a result had begun a hunger strike. On 25 May, he was released on $200,000 bail while awaiting trial. On 20 December 2010, Panahi, after being convicted for "assembly and colluding with the intention to commit crimes against the country’s national security and propaganda against the Islamic Republic," the Islamic Revolutionary Court sentenced Panahi to six years imprisonment and a 20-year ban on making or directing any movies, writing screenplays, giving any form of interview with Iranian or foreign media as well as leaving the country except for Hajj holy pilgrimage to Mecca or medical treatment. Panahi's colleague, Mohammad Rasoulof also received six years imprisonment but was later reduced to one year on appeal. On October 15, 2011, a court in Tehran upheld Panahi's sentence and ban. Following the courts decision, Panahi was placed under house arrest. He has since been allowed to move more freely but he cannot travel outside Iran.[101][102]

Hossein Rajabian, an Iranian independent filmmaker, After finishing his first feature film, was arrested by Iranian security forces on 5 October 2013 outside his office [in Sari] alongside two musicians, and was transferred to Ward 2-A of Evin Prison where all three of them were held in solitary confinement for more than two months and were threatened with televised confessions. He was released on bail (around $66,000) in mid-December, pending trial. Two years later, his case was heard at Branch 28 of Tehran Revolutionary Court which was presided over by Judge Moghisseh (Summer 2015). He was sentenced to six years in prison and fines for pursuing illegal cinematic activities, launching propaganda against the establishment and hurling insults at sanctities. On appeal, his sentence was changed to three years imprisonment and three years of suspended jail and fines. Hossein Rajabian was sent to the ward 7 of Evin Prison in Tehran. After spending one third of his total period of imprisonment (that is 11 months), he went on hunger strike to protest against unjust trial, lack of medical facilities, and transfer of his brother to another ward called section 8 of the same prison. During the first hunger strike period, which lasted 14 days, he was transferred to hospital because of pulmonary infection and he could not continue his hunger strike because of the interference of the representative of the prosecutor who was sent as an intermediary. After some time, he sent an open letter to the judicial authorities of Iran and went again on strike which brought him the supports of international artists. After 36 days of hunger strike, he could convince the judicial authorities of Iran to review his case and grant him medical leave for the treatment of his left kidney suffered from infections and blood arising out of hunger strike. he, after a contentious struggle with the judicial officer of the prison was sent to the ward 8 for punishment.[103][104][105][106][107]

Cinemapeople in the Iranian diaspora[edit]

Cinemapeople in the Iranian diaspora, such as Shohreh Aghdashloo, Zuleikha Robinson, Nadia Bjorlin, Shirin Neshat, Adrian Pasdar, Amir Mokri, Bahar Soomekh, Amir TalaiCatherine Bell, Nazanin Boniadi, Samira Makhmalbaf, Freema Agyeman, Sarah Shahi, Hughes brothers, Nasim Pedrad, Daryush Shokof, and Farhad Safinia are also popular.

Film institutes in Iran[edit]

Several institutes, both government run and private, provide formal education in various aspects of filmmaking. Some of the prominent ones include: Farabi Cinema Foundation, Hedayat Film Co, Sourehcinema, Documentary & Experimental Film Center, Filmiran, Kanoon Iran Novin, Boshra Film, Bamdad Film, TDH Film, Hilaj Film, Tgpco, Karname, Rasaneha, Nama Film company, AvinyFilm, 7spfs and Honar Aval.

Iranian film critics[edit]

Most famous of them like: Houshang Golmakani, Fereydoun Jeyrani, Parviz Davaei, Massoud Farasati, Abbas Baharloo, Hamid Reza Sadr, Cyrus Ghani, Javad Toosi, Negar Mottahedeh, Ahmad Talebinejad, Mohammad Tahami Nezhad, Ali Moallem and Parviz Nouri , behrouz sebt rasoul

See also[edit]


  1. ^Arbabi, Mahmoud. "شناسنامه سینماهای کشور در سال 97". Retrieved 29 September 2019.
  2. ^Salehi Amiri, Reza. "سالانه 200 فیلم در ایران ساخته می‌شود". ILNA. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  3. ^ ab
  4. ^ abThe Iranian CinemaArchived 2012-08-02 at
  5. ^Iran cinema history
  6. ^Abbas Kiarostami: Articles & Interviews
  7. ^"The Iranian Cinema: A Dream With No Awakening". Archived from the original on 2006-10-21. Retrieved 2006-03-26.
  8. ^ - - Iranian Cinema - Beyond Festival Films
  9. ^Yahoo! Movies: Movie News
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^BBC News. (2000). "Iranian 'King of Hearts' dies". BBC News. Retrieved November 8, 2006.
  14. ^Farewell to Fardin: Death of legendary actor marks end of an era
  15. ^
  16. ^"Ahmadinejad turns down chance to star in Oliver Stone film", The Guardian, July 2, 2007.
  17. ^Sixteen foreign films to compete at Fajr Festival
  18. ^Iran Daily - Arts & Culture - 12/13/06
  19. ^ ab"No more 'feminist' or pro-US films in Iran!". Archived from the original on 2007-04-06. Retrieved 2007-04-07.
  20. ^Eric Henderson (February 22, 2005). "The House is Black". Slant. Retrieved October 27, 2016.
  21. ^"Al-Ahram Weekly | People | Limelight". Archived from the original on 2008-04-15. Retrieved 2016-09-04.
  22. ^ abThe New Wave in Iranian Cinema - From Past to Present
  23. ^"Abbas Kiarostami ? The Truth Behind Reality". Archived from the original on 2007-09-12. Retrieved 2007-01-30.
  24. ^ abReal Fictions
  25. ^Rising talent on Iranian Scene
  26. ^To Kiarostami or Not To Kiarostami
  27. ^"Iranian women tell their own story". BBC News. May 4, 2001. Retrieved April 30, 2010.
  28. ^"Tehran Avenue | Film | War Cinema and Two New Iranian Films". Archived from the original on 2006-11-19. Retrieved 2007-02-19.
  29. ^History of Iranian war cinema
  30. ^First Animation of the World Found In Burnt City
  31. ^"Tehran International Animation Festival (2nd Festival 2001)". Archived from the original on 2007-05-16. Retrieved 2007-02-19.
  32. ^Mazda Moradabbasi,Don't Miss Your Dreams : Analysis of Mohammad Ali Talebi's Children and Youth Film, Teheran: Farabi Cinematic Foundation, 2012.
  33. ^Panps Kotzathanasis, “Interview with Mohammad-Ali Talebi: You can still see works of quality coming out, but I feel these are the last attempts of an era that is vanishing”, Asian Movie Pulse, June 27, 2019.
  34. ^ abc"The Modern Magazine for Persian Celebrations, Cuisine, Culture & Community". Archived from the original on 2007-04-30. Retrieved 2007-02-19.
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List of the latest Iranian/Persian movies in 2021 and the best Iranian/Persian movies of 2020 & the 2010's. Top Iranian/Persian movies to watch on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Disney+ & other Streaming services, out on DVD/Blu-ray or in cinema's right now.

New Iranian/Persian movies in 2021 in Cinema & on VOD

Top movies up for release in 2021 in cinema and on VOD

  • Golden Blood

    DIRECTOR: Ebrahim Sheibani
    CAST: Bahar Ghasemi, Zahra Hatami, Shahab Hosseini
    Written and directed by Ebrahim Sheibani (No Where No Body, Dark Rising), this somber drama tells the tale of one woman trying to rebuild her shattered life. Having gone through the tragedy of her addict husband being imprisoned and dealing with her disabled child, a driving instructor struggles to keep her life together. And it’s only getting worse when she finds the bills are getting even harder to pay. When it seems like nothing is going her way, she may just find that the drastic route is the one worth pursuing. Read more

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Best Iranian/Persian movies on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Disney+ or DVD in 2021

2020, 2019, 2018, 2017 and the 2010's best rated Iranian/Persian movies out on DVD, Bluray or streaming on VOD (Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Disney+ & More).

  • Just 6.5

    DIRECTOR: Saeed Roustayi
    CAST: Peyman Maadi, Navid Mohammadzade & Parinaz Izadyar
    Narcotics detective Samad (Payman Maadi) is hot on the trail to take down the sinister drug lord of Naser Khakzad (Navid Mohammadzadeh). He may have found his chance to blow this case wide open when a raid leads him to a dealer with valuable information. But the deeper that Samad digs into this case, the more dangerous it becomes in this intense Iranian crime thriller of social injustice from writer/director Saeed Roustayi (Life and a Day). Read more

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  • The Warden

    DIRECTOR: Nima Javidi
    CAST: Navid Mohammadzadeh, Parinaz Izadyar & Setareh Pesyani
    The evacuation of a prison is underway due to an expansion of an airport that forcing out the facility. In charge of the transportation of inmates to a new prison is Colonel Jahed (Navid Mohammadzadeh) and his team of officers. But the operation goes awry when one of the prisoners escaped his grasp and is now on the run. Desperate to maintain order, the chase is on as Jahed tracks down the fleeing inmate in this suspenseful crime drama. Read more

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  • Son-Mother

    DIRECTOR: Mahnaz Mohammadi
    CAST: Raha Khodayari, Mahan Nasiri & Reza Behboodi
    A struggling factory in Iran is facing the sanctions of the era with a tight grip. One of the struggling works is a widow, Leila (Raha Khodayari), working as hard as she can to make ends meet with her children in this chaotic environment. She soon receives a marriage proposal from a man who could help her overcome her greater financial difficulties. Even though this marriage would help her out greatly, it could very well pit her whole family against each other in this somber Middle Eastern drama. Read more

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Related: Best new Egyptian Movies in 2021 & 2020 (Netflix, Prime, Hulu & Cinema List) Abbas Kiarostami, Jafar Panahi, Asghar Farhadi… just a few names to remind how great the cinema of Iran is. We put together a list of Iranian must-see movies below! In the 90’s, Iranian cinema was a blossoming industry which gained a lot of international attention. Films by renowned auteurs like Abbas Kiarostami and Majid Majidi became true festival darlings. In 2011, the recognition of the brilliance of Iranian film making culminated with an Oscar for the gripping divorce drama A Seperation. Now let’s take a look at the most interesting Iranian films of the decade so far.

Persia before Khomeini - The history of Iran in 15 minutes of perfectly restored film material

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Iranian Cinema is a rich and diverse cinema that has been in existence since the 1930s amidst oppressive regimes, censorship and even in the face of exile. The history of film as an art form in Iran dates back to the pioneering days of cinema when the first movie theatre opened in Tehran in 1904. Film was less than ten years old at the time and many Iranians flocked to cinemas to watch these primitive masterpieces. However, it would be another 25 years before Iran would develop its own national cinema, a cinema of morality, humanity, abandon and integrity. Starting with the opening of the first film school in 1925, an Iranian national cinema quickly began to develop. Since then, cinema has served as an ambassador for Iran, the heart and soul of a country marred by years of instability. As a result Iranian national cinema has become an engaging, chaotic, soulful and poignant cinema. It remains a true testament to the resilience and industrious nature of the Iranian people and serves as a veracious voice through which Iran can tells its varied and compelling stories. This is a list of the 15 essential Iranian films of all time.

1. The House is Black (Forough Farrokhzad, 1963)

2. The Brick and The Mirror [aka Brick and Mirror] (Ebrahim Golestan, 1965)

3. The Cow (Daryush Mehrjui, 1969)

4. Still Life (Sohrab Shahid-Saless, 1974)

5. The Runner (Amir Naderi, 1985)

6. The Cyclist (Mohsen Makhmalbaf, 1987)

7. Close Up (Abbas Kiarostami, 1990)

8. A Moment of Innocence [aka Bread and Flower Pot] (Mohsen Makhmalbaf, 1996)

9. Taste of Cherry (Abbas Kiarostami, 1997)

10. The Apple (Samira Makhmalbaf, 1998)

11. The Color of Paradise (Majid Majidi, 1999)

12. The Day I Became a Woman (Marzieh Meshkini, 2000)

13. Ten (Abbas Kiarostami, 2002)

14. Turtles Can Fly (Bahman Gobadi, 2004)

15. A Separation (Asghar Farhadi, 2011)

You might immensely know Iran, but how well are you familiar with Iran’s epic film industry? We have curated for you, a list of some of the best, if not literally the best, feature films that were introduced to the whole world within the last 50 years. Some of the names might be familiar, like internationally-recognized Asghar Farhadi, with his 2011 film “A Separation”, earning the Best Foreign Film award at 83rd Academy Awards ceremony. Or the critically acclaimed “Children of Heaven” by Majid Majidi. If you have a taste for deep dives into the cinematic and artistic history of one of the Middle East’s most vibrantly creative atmospheres, you will enjoy this three-part journey. Read more below to get started with the first 11 Iranian films out of 33 that you conspicuously should consider watching.

1. Bashu, the Little Stranger

A survey from 150 Iranian critics and professionals showed in the best Persian movie magazine, World of Picture, Bashu was voted as “The Best Iranian Film of All Time”. According to the credits, It was the film’s ability to promote social commentary in a subversive government that made it noteworthy for all times.

The movie takes place during the war of Iran-Iraq when the southern part of Iran became a battlefield and everything was turning into ashes. Bashu is the name of a southern boy who loses his family and his house. Consequently, he runs away for his life and hides in the back of a truck. The destination of the truck is a small village in the north of Iran and this is when everything begins. He finds his way into a family and their good-hearted mother who is called “Nai” in the movie.

This 1989 movie is made by the great Iranian director, Bahram Beizai. Some of the best actors of the time act in this movie such as Susan Taslimi, who is acting and directing in Sweden nowadays. Bahram Beizai uses some contrasts such as North and South, black and white, and dialectical differences. The director criticizes ethnocentric Persian nationalism while marking the tense relationship between nationalism and ethnicity. It is worth mentioning that Bashu was the first Iranian movie to use the northern language of Iran, Gilaki. What is more interesting is that all the actors were northern and they were all fluent in speaking “Gilaki”.

2. The Scent of Joseph’s Shirt (Booye Pirahane Yousef)

Ghafoor is a Taxi Driver whose son was allegedly martyred during the war but he wouldn’t believe it. Although all the evidence shows that his son is dead and everyone believes so, he is still waiting for his beloved son, Yousef (Joseph). Then one day at the airport Ghafoor encounters a strange woman Shirin, who has traveled from Europe to Iran looking for his brother, Khosrow, a missing soldier at war. Both start searching for their loved ones.

95% of the film takes place at night to show the claustrophobia of prisoners of war. The ugliness of, war, the pain of loss, and waiting for someone is shown in the most magnificent way in this movie with a piece of elegant music composed by Majid Entezami which turned to a masterpiece and a memorable soundtrack for Iranians.

3. Sperm Whale (Nahang-e Anbar)

A nice, smooth, and hilarious comedy directed by Saman Moghadam in 2015. It starts with the life story of Arjang, who was born in the 60s. From his childhood days, he is in love with his friend Roya, who is a girl desperately trying to climb up the social latter each day of her life. You will dive into the life of Arjang and all the incidents that happen to him as he is madly in love with Roya.

Iran is very open to the comedy. The number that shows the sale of the movie in the cinema is proof of this fact. Iranian’s watched this movie over and over again in the theater’s cause it was pure comedy. You can laugh, you can feel pity for the protagonist of the film, played by Reza Attaran, one of the most famous comedians, and the other glamorous performances by Mahnaz Afshar and Vishka Asayesh. Another thing which makes the movie worth watching is the lifestyle alternation that you get to see during the movie. It somehow shows the history of Iran from the time of Shah, until the present era. Sperm Whale is a comedy that you shouldn’t miss watching. Grant yourself some laugh with watching this hilarious must-see movie.

4. Ice Age (Asr-e Yakhbandan)

The Ice Age movie was made in 2015 and it caught a lot of attention among regular people and critics. This drama movie goes through the life of Babak and Monireh. The difficult social situation causes Babak to work a lot and him not being present at home causes a deep gap between him and his wife. Therefore, Monireh gets involved in another relationship which leads her to drug addiction and wickedness.

The movie is taboo-breaking in Iran since it shows women using drugs. Besides, it shows a woman’s affair which is unexpected to be shown in Iranian movies. In addition, another social issue that is brought up in the movie is the controversial predicament of “Agha Zadeh”. It means being born in an important political family and therefore, being allowed to live an aristocratic life under the privilege and immunity of their family name.

Another aspect of the movie which makes you sit down and watch the movie till the end is its amazing edit which brought an award to the movie in Fajr Film Festival. You will see the story carrying on by the view of different people and it continues until you see what has really happened.

One last thing that makes this movie worth watching is the amazing work of actors and the director. The creative Mostafa Kiayee has done a perfect job in choosing actors such as Mahtab Keramati, who has performed one of the best plays of her career, Farhad Aslani and Sahar Dolatshahi who won the award for the best supporting actress in Fajr Film Festival.

5. Felicity Land (Sa’adat Abad)

Three wealthy Iranian couples are gathered together for a birthday party. At first glance it seems that they have the best life, they are so happy with their lives, and they are literally in the felicity land. However, each of them is keeping a secret from their spouses.

The first interesting point of the movie is its name. It has an irony since Sa’adat Abad (Felicity Land) is one of the rich neighborhoods of Tehran. When you hear the name of this neighborhood, you may think that they are also happy inside their luxurious life. Also, you’ll see an ideal life in the movie. They have the perfect wife and husband, they are rich and nothing is missing, but then you will understand the missing parts of their lives one by one. All these characteristics have come together to make a great movie that is completely worth watching. The characters were directed by Maziar Miri and the actors who transfer these feelings in the best possible way are Hamed Behdad, Leila Hatami, Hengameh Ghaziani, Mahnaz Afshar, Hossein Yari, and Amir Aghaee.

6. Hamoun

If you are a fan of Stanley Kubrick or David Lynch, Hamoun must be the first Iranian movie you watch. The middle-class Hamid Hamoun has been married to an artist named Mahshid for seven years. However, Mahshid is becoming increasingly frustrated with their existence and feels that Hamid is somehow holding her back from her true creativity. When she asks for a divorce, Hamid struggles to come to terms with it. In a series of dream sequences that resemble the work of Fellini, Hamid tries to piece together what went wrong. Known as Dariush Mehrjui’s greatest masterpiece, this compelling film uses subtle humor to tell the story of one man’s heartbreaking loss.

This artistic movie takes a lot of thinking to make you understand the whole thing. One thing that makes the movie a masterpiece is the flashbacks and dreams that Hamoun sees. His work is mostly inspired by Fellini, the great Italian filmmaker. Not everyone likes Hamoun, however, if you are a cinema lover you will enjoy every sequence of Hamoun with the spectacular performance of Khosrow Shakibaee and Bita Farahi.

7. Canaan

This 2008 movie is the story of Mina and Morteza who have been married for 10 years. Mina was Morteza’s student in the university and they were madly in love, but then after a while, her love vanishes and she decides to leave Morteza and immigrate to Canada to study. However, everything changes when Mina’s older sister shows up.

Canaan is a nice and smooth movie that catches your attention with a simple story, amazing soundtracks, and most importantly breathtaking performances. Every minute of the movie you get to see the best acts of some of the best Iranian actors such as Mohammad Reza Forotan, Taraneh Alidoosti, and Bahram Radan. The wonderful composing of Christophe Rezaee cannot be ignored. He has altered the feelings into sounds that directly goes into the audience’s heart. All and all this movie is one of the best Iranian movies that you must watch.

8. Crazy Rook (Rokhe Divaneh)

This drama thriller is the story of a group of youth online community members, roaming the city of Tehran, looking for good times. Though one night, this gathering results in an unfortunate event. What starts as a prank, unfolds into a complicated situation as they become entangled in blackmail.

Examining the true meaning of friendship and the way we portray ourselves on social media, “Crazy Rook” is a riveting and sometimes harrowing journey which will take you on the edge of your seat throughout. The film won the Best Director and Best Film awards at the Fajr International Film Festival. With a cast full of young talented actors, a new story, and a wonderful way of telling the story, this movie is definitely one of the movies you shouldn’t miss watching.

9. About Elly

The 2009 drama movie directed by the 2 times Oscar winner, Asghar Farhadi, is the story of a group of former classmates that travel to the north of Iran. Sepideh, performed by Golshifteh Farahani, is the person who managed this trip and invited her daughter’s Kindergarten teacher, Elly, to meet their single friend, Ahmad who has come from Germany recently. They rent a villa right in front of the Caspian Sea. Everything seems perfect and they are spending a great time together until the moment that Elly suddenly disappears. Her mysterious disappearance sets in motion a series of deceptions and revelations that threaten to shatter everything they hold dear.

Asghar Farhadi won the Silver Bear for Best Director at the 59th Berlin International Film Festival for the film. The film was also nominated for 10 awards at the 27th Fajr International Film Festival where Farhadi won the Crystal Simorgh for the best directing. About Elly was also Iran’s official submission for the competition in the Foreign Film section at the 82nd Academy Awards.

10. The Lizard (Marmoulak)

Marmoulak is a heartwarming and saddening tale about a recently jailed petty thief disguises as a Mullah and succeeds in escaping, but has to stay in the Mullah’ role longer than he expected to. This is the story which is said to be an Iranian remake of the movie “We’re not Angels” acted by Robert De Niro and Sean Penn. However, the Iranian one has its own point of view because of all the religious limitations and laws in Iran.

You’ll have the chance to laugh a lot during the movie with the nice jokes and situations of the scenes. However, you might have difficulty with the cultural jokes; so watch it with a local if you can. Marmoulak is full of gentle humanist irony which becomes sadly evident but never too overt. Parviz Parastui gives an outstanding performance in the lead, and all the supporting roles are also acted at a highly competent level. The story and cinematography are quite professional as well. After a very successful run, Marmoulak was banned in Iran as sacrilegious. But, I can assure you that every Iranian has watched it several times and it is one of their favorite movies of all times. So, you won’t be having a problem watching this movie. Watch and enjoy.

11. A Cube of Sugar

Somewhere on the outskirts of modern Iran, at a traditional old house in Yazd with a fragrant tree-shaded internal yard, a whole family is ceaselessly making wedding preparations. The youngest girl of the family is getting married to a decent boy, who is studying abroad, which is the perfect reason for an elegant family reunion. Everyone are ready for the joyous event; however, is a single cube of sugar enough to bring sweetness and happiness?

It is said by some critics that “A cube of sugar” is a sweet Iranian movie. The movie is filled with unending beauties that make you wish that the movie never finishes. The colorful clothes, the “Yazdi” accent of the actors, and the amazing atmosphere of the house are the things that make the movie worth watching. The movie intended to be Iran’s official submission to Oscars 2013 but it withdrew protesting against “Argo”.

Iranian modern poet, Sohrab Sepehri has a poem which suits the movie: “Life is a small bitlike a cup of teaand love is right next to itlike a cube of sugar”

فیلم کمدی ایرانی شبی در تهران - Iranian Movie A Night In Tehran


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