A Social History of Iranian Cinema: The Artisanal Era, 1897–1941

Research output: Book/ReportBook


Volume 1 depicts and analyzes the early years of Iranian cinema. Film was introduced in Iran in 1900, three years after the country’s first commercial film exhibitor saw the new medium in Great Britain. An artisanal cinema industry sponsored by the ruling shahs and other elites soon emerged. The presence of women, both on the screen and in movie houses, proved controversial until 1925, when Reza Shah Pahlavi dissolved the Qajar dynasty. Ruling until 1941, Reza Shah implemented a Westernization program intended to unite, modernize, and secularize his 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 four silent feature films were produced in Iran; of the five Persian-language sound features shown in the country before 1941, four were made by an Iranian expatriate in India.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherDuke University Press Books
ISBN (Print)082234775X
StatePublished - 2011


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