Iranian cinema holds some of the greatest pearls of international cinema. Marked by seemingly intimate themes, such as childhood, family or art, the filmography of directors such as Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Jafar Panahi, Asghar Farhadi and Abbas Kiarostami carries a very strong political weight and has managed to overcome barriers and expand his speech far beyond the borders of Iran. One of the great points of Iranian cinematography is to go against the “cinema-spectacle” of Hollywood.
“The greatest merit of Iranian cinematography is producing films that touch the human soul, with simplicity, through everyday stories. The directors are inspired by the ancient tradition of Persian poetry. Cinema is an instrument of transformation and social criticism.
The films portray human issues that permeate any and all civilizations (justice, solidarity, meaning of life and death, loneliness, hope, ethics) and also reveal the contradictions of Iranian society and the problems arising moral impositions ”
Get to know this cinema better 15 titles and fall in love:
The Separation | A Separation (Asghar Farhadi, 2011)
A portrait of Tehran today, through the story of a couple who split up, as the woman wants to immigrate and the husband wants to stay looking after his sick father. when the woman leaves home, he hires a caregiver, with whom he will have conflicts that will end in court. Oscar winner for best foreign film and 54 other awards.
Close-Up | Nema-ye Nazdik (Abbas Kiarostami, 1990)
A young film buff, in love with the work of Iranian director Mohsen Makhmalbaf ends up in prison when he impersonates the famous director and goes to trial, accused by a family rich in ideological falsehood, theft and extortion. Kiarostami's documentary style stands out, recreating real facts with those involved. It is curious to note the respect that the Iranian population seems to have for its filmmakers, a cultured people.
The apple | Sib (Samira Makhmalbaf, 1998)
The apple is based on the real story of 2 twin girls who lived locked in the house for 12 years, with no contact with the outside world. The mother is blind and the father follows the extremism of the old Koran. One day, denounced by neighbors to Social Work, they are discovered beginning the girls' readaptation to the new world!
Children of Paradise | Bacheha-Ye Aseman (Majid Majidi 1997)
A humble 9-year-old boy takes his sister's shoes for repair, but loses them. for not having the resources to buy another pair, they decide to hide their parents and teachers, taking the boy's shoes. until there is a running competition at the school the third prize is a pair of sneakers, the boy trains and, to his disappointment, ends up taking the first place. simple and moving, one of the first Iranian films to conquer the world, being nominated for an Oscar.
Turtles can fly | Lakposhtha parvaz mikonand (Bahman Ghobadi, 2004)
Directed by the excellent Kurdish-Iranian director, its action is concentrated on the border between Iran and Turkey, in a Kurdish settlement, butchered by both sides. there lives a group of orphaned children mutilated by landmines and constantly threatened by chemical attacks. but none of them act with self-pity, they try to survive the harsh reality in the best way. beautiful film, which should be mandatory for anyone claiming life.
Gabbeh (Mohsen Makhmalbaf, 1996)
A nomadic tribe in southeastern Iran, whose specialty is weaving “gabbehs”, is dying, on the brink of extinction. Gabbeh is a very original type of Persian rug - the motifs are highly creative, no two are alike. His inspiration comes the lives of the people of the tribe, the places they cross, their passions, etc. On the bank of a river, an old woman, who washes a gabbeh, talks to the carpet and tells how one of the last gabbehs was made by a young woman named Gabbeh.
The White Balloon | Badkonake Sefid (Jafar Panahi, 1995)
A little girl convinces her mother to give her the little money she has to buy a fat goldfish for New Year's celebrations. on the way she loses money, but does not get discouraged, facing solidarity and also the indifference of several people. a simple and moving film, with a script that Abbas Kiarostami made as a gift to his assistant in ‘Across the Olives’, Panahi. winner of Camera d’Or in Cannes, as the best film by a new director.
I like cherry | Taste Of Cherry (Abbas Kiarostami, 1997) y (Abbas Kiarostami, 1997)
Winner of the Palme d'Or in Cannes, tells the story of a man who walks through a quarry on the outskirts of Tehran, looking for someone he can trust with a very special job. the mountains of earth and stones seem to represent your own brain and your anxieties. a cinema masterpiece, made by a director who deserves his own list, with works like ‘Close-Up’, ‘Across the Olive Trees’, ‘ is My Friend’s House?’ and several others
The Silence | Le Silence (Mohsen Makhmalbaf, 1998)
Khorshild is a 10 year old blind boy. Living with his mother on a border between Iran and Tajikistan, the young man has a very keen sound sensitivity, which provides him with a job as a tuner for musical instruments. Every day he takes the bus to work and almost always gets lost in the sounds of the city, leaving his boss impatient. He received a Gold Medal the Italian Senate at the Venice Film Festival.
The apartment | Forushande (Asghar Farhadi, 2016)
Emad (Shahab Hosseini) and Rana (Taraneh Alidoosti) are married and stage the production of the play “The Death of a Traveling Salesman”, by Arthur Miller. One day, they are surprised by the warning that they and all residents of the building they live in should leave the premises immediately. The problem is that, due to a construction site nearby, the entire building is at risk of collapse. Faced with this problem, Emad and Rana temporarily live in a borrowed apartment. It is there that Rana is surprised that a stranger enters the bathroom, just when she is taking a shower. The scare makes her seriously hurt and ends up in the hospital. However, it is the trauma of the event that increasingly affects their lives.
An instant of innocence | Nun va Goldoon (Mohsen Makhmalbaf, 1996)
In Tehran, a 40-year-old former police officer seeks out filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf. Comes to demand the fulfillment of an old promise. Two years earlier, the director promised him a role in his next film. In fact, the first contact between the two men took place much earlier, 20 years ago, in very dramatic circumstances. It was the government of Shah Rheza Pahlevi. Mohsen, then 17, was a dissident. In a demonstration, he stabbed the policeman, trying to take the revolver him. The latter defended himself by shooting Mohsen, who was eventually arrested and tortured. Ayatollah Khomeini's Islamic Revolution changes the entire political picture. Fifteen years after the incident, the same police officer, now out of force, applied for a role in Save the Cinema. But it was not until two years later that this happened. Then, the filmmaker decides to film the confrontation between the two, this time using actors. There are no villains, nor heroes: only the attempt to understand two opposing points of view in a limit situation.
The Jug | Khomreh (Ebrahim Forouzesh, 1992)
In an Iranian village in the desert, a big problem starts when the pitcher that serves to keep water for the students of the local school cracks. The community discovers the solidarity that unites them in an attempt to solve the problem.
The Color of Paradise | Rang-e Khoda (Majid Majidi, 1999)
Mohammad is a young student aged eight who attends a school for the blind in Tehran. His inability to see the world further reinforces his ability to feel his powerful forces. After a year, he returns to his homeland, a village in the mountainous north of Iran, along with his father, a widowed coal miner.
Looking for Elly | Darbareye Elly (Asghar Farhadi, 2010)
A group of couples will spend the holiday on the beach and among them a divorced boy who has just returned Germany and an unknown one, whom one of the women wants to introduce. but something goes wrong and the girl disappears. then on his story begins to be unveiled and everyone starts to be more concerned with his honor than with his life. another excellent suspense by Farhadi, which dominates this structure with unmatched delicacy.
Through the olive trees | Zire Darakhatan Zeyton (Abbas Kiarostami, 1994)
A film crew arrives in a small town in northern Iran, devastated by an earthquake, to make a film. Hossein (Hossein Rezai) is hired to be the protagonist. Incidentally, the actress opposite him is Tahere (Tahere Ladanian), a young woman with whom he is in love, but whom the family had refused for marriage. While he says all of his lines, Tahere remains silent. The director discovers the platonic love that Hossein feels for Tahere. After some pressure, Tahereh agrees to act normally and begins to do his job. But it's not easy, at least for Farhad - on story being filmed, they are newlyweds. In the intervals between takes, he tries in every way to get an answer his beloved. However, she doesn't seem very interested in answering.
The House is Dark | Khaneh siah ast (Forugh Farrokhzad, 1963)
Acclaimed Iranian film, described as a key element of the genre related to works like the Hurd or Freaks. The only work in the film Forough Farrokhzad begins with the phrase “The world is full of ugliness. Even more so if the man would look away. Going to see on the screen an image of ugliness, a portrait of suffering, it would be unfair to ignore it ”and, then, it shows, in a poetic material, life in a colony of lepers.