Another Birth
In 1947 economist Esmail Kooshan returned to Iran. On his way from Berlin he purchased 2 European movies and dubbed them in Persian. The marketable success of these films augmented his anxiety concerning the local film industry. Kooshan established Mitra Film with the help of several relatives and friends. In spite of several failures in 1950 Kooshan made his path-breaking work “Ashamed.”
Meanwhile, other locals in the private sector, tempted to check own luck in the cinema business. The movie that actually boosted the economy of the country’s cinema and started a new genre was “Croesus Treasure,” made by Siamak Yasami. It was an amazing financial success, “Croesus Treasure” made over one million dollars. After the initial successful movies, form 1950 to the mid-1960’s the local film sphere grew really fast. Many studios were created. There were 324 works made during this time period. By 1965 there were seventy-two movie theatres opened in Tehran and 192 in the provinces.

Iranian art cinema was born in 1962, when the initial documentary about a colony became what is now treated as the Iranian art film. It was a very powerful and amazingly compassionate film displaying all the humanist characteristics of the Iranian movies. But it was also created by a female – a claim any Iranian art cinema would be proud of – a feminist and a poet.

Naficy describes the 1960s as “a time of growing Western impact” (Naficy, 672-678). The administration of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi strengthened its power, with the assistance of oil finances and US support. Foreign interests were central in the media. Nevertheless, New Wave of local film-makers appeared, who utilized advanced technologies and were not scared by social comments. The poetic and generally critical essence of the Iranian New Wave called for the tastes of the major opposition groups – the radical intellectuals and university students. However, the development of this cinema was set aside, not so much by Shah’s control, but by the import of Hollywood cinemas.
But it also created the opportunity for the independent cinema. The first successful attempt was “The Night of Hunchback,” 1964. It was the initial feature film chosen for international movie festivals. By 1970 local cinema entered its main stage. The College of Dramatic Arts already taught the first students at the beginning of the decade. Many progressive film organizations and unions came into existence; and there were several annual festivals taking place in the state.

Youth of the country demonstrated an interest in avant-garde cinema that echoed their activities (Zeydabadi-Nejad, 53-70). The best known effort was “Free Cinema.” The group was formed by several cinema students in the mid-1970s. The movement spread around the nation and soon they had own national festival. One of the most significant organizations, which was a great assistance in evolvement of Iranian film-making is the Institution for Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults. Due to these institutions many well-known filmmakers appeared during the pre-revolution period, counting Parvis Kimiavi, who created the masterpiece “Mongols,” 1973.
Role of Females in the Iranian Cinema

Throughout the whole pre-revolution time period, cinema had treated females more like objects or commodities and due to this, they vanished from the cinema during the few years following the revolution. Mariam Bassiri in her articles about Iran and local women writes, “the role of women before the revolution was extremely limited and invisible; females could only play the roles of mothers or wives” (Bassiri). Females could not influence the cinema before the revolution because of several reasons: ladies were not so literate and there were not so many social, economic, political and developmental programs in Iran; females could not take part in social affairs and demonstrate their presence in social arenas due to religious teachings.

The Islamic Revolution of 1978 altered everything. Cinema was censured because of its apparent link with the Shah’s administration and western impact. Approximately 180 cinema theatres were burned. Directors, filmmakers had to work within extremely strict censorship circumstances. Social comments were self-censored and females were virtually absent from cinema screens for years.

The fresh political, cultural and economic climate from the middle of sixties to seventies evolved an exclusive Iranian cinema that had roots in local perspectives of culture, art and literature. The conventional commercial cinema encountered a new sort of cinema. The counter cinema was a political sort of cinema, which evolved the symbolic language due to an extensive history of suppression. This cinema was extremely different from movies existing in Africa, Latin America or any other developing country, because of other social-historical contexts. Some of famous filmmakers of that time had to leave Iran because of cultural and political circumstances. Those people who remained in the state challenged the novel fashion of moral and religious censorship of culture. It should also be mentioned that the beautiful Iranian cinema of present days is the result of a tradition evolved in the pre-revolution time period.

Works Cited
Dabashi, Hamid. “Close Up: Iranian Cinema, Past, Present, and Future.” November 2001. Verso., pp:24-25.
Sadr, Hamid Reza. “Iranian Cinema: A Political History (International Library of Iranian Studies)” 28 November 2006. I. B. Tauris., pp:19-23.
Zeydabadi-Nejad, Saeed. “The Politics of Iranian Cinema: Film and Society in the Islamic Republic (Iranian Studies)” 12 November 2009. Routledge; 1 edition., pp:53-70.
Naficy, H. “Iranian Cinema”, in The Oxford History of World Cinema” 1996. Oxford University Press: Oxford, UK, pp: 672-678.
Omid, Jamal. “The History of Iranian Cinema” 1995. Tehran: Rozaneh Publication., pp: 102-120.
Bassiri, Mariam. “Women in the Iranian Cinema.” September 1997. Web. 20 March 2012.