By Hamid Naficy
Hamid Naficy is without doubt one of the world’s top specialists on Iranian movie, and A Social historical past of Iranian Cinema is his magnum opus. masking the past due 19th century to the early twenty-first and addressing documentaries, well known genres, and paintings motion pictures, it explains Iran’s extraordinary cinematic construction modes, in addition to the position of cinema and media in shaping modernity and a contemporary nationwide identification in Iran. This entire social background unfolds throughout 4 volumes, each one of which might be liked on its own.
Volume 1 depicts and analyzes the early years of Iranian cinema. movie was once brought in Iran in 1900, 3 years after the country’s first advertisement movie exhibitor observed the recent medium in nice Britain. An artisanal cinema backed through the ruling shahs and different elites quickly emerged. The presence of ladies, either at the reveal and in motion picture homes, proved arguable till 1925, while Reza Shah Pahlavi dissolved the Qajar dynasty. Ruling till 1941, Reza Shah carried out a Westernization application meant to unite, modernize, and secularize his multicultural, multilingual, and multiethnic kingdom. Cinematic representations of a fast-modernizing Iran have been inspired, the veil was once outlawed, and dandies flourished. even as, images, motion picture creation, and film homes have been tightly managed. movie construction eventually proved marginal to country formation. purely 4 silent function motion pictures have been produced in Iran; of the 5 Persian-language sound good points proven within the kingdom ahead of 1941, 4 have been made by means of an Iranian expatriate in India.
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Additional info for A Social History of Iranian Cinema, Volume 1: The Artisanal Era
Soon, I moved to the United States to begin my formal studies in film and television. Barely a month after arriving in Los Angeles, a sense of desolation and rage took me over, pushing me toward Stephen Crane’s horrific poetry and Jean-Paul Sartre’s humanist and existentialist philosophy. I copied many of Crane’s poems and passages from Sartre’s Nausea in my journal. On 26 April 1964, for example, I filled an entire page with the word nausea, repeated over and over, in a fashion chillingly reminiscent of Jack Torrance’s possessed writing of pages of “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining (1980).
The culture it produced consisted of a three-thousandvolume children’s lending library, handwritten magazines composed and illustrated by children, and plays and art exhibitions that children organized. We named the library Ibn Sina Library in honor of the great Persian physician and scientist Ali Abu Sina (980–1037), known in the West as Avicenna. One of our family magazines was Neda-ye Elm (Call of Science), to which I contributed (figure 15). This republic of letters was an inchoate civil society institution of the type considered necessary for ushering in modernity, one rooted both in traditional kinship and in modern individualist structures.
My uncles Reza and Hosain Nafisi, who also built a hand-cranked cartoon projector in the mid-1950s, solved the problem of the reversed projection of the alphabets by reading the dialogue aloud to the ho w it all began xxxv spectators like curtain reciters and movie-house translators, discussed extensively here (Naficy 2007b). The filmmaker Asadollah Niknejad, who emigrated to the United States, told me that he had been fascinated with the idea of building a projector in his youth and, indeed, had manufactured a 35mm model, which he said still works.