This used Italian Neo-realism to influence the films

This first chapter discusses key elements of New Wave Iranian
cinema. This includes what film was like in Iran before New Wave Iranian
cinema, the birth of New Wave Iranian cinema in the late 1960s, the Islamic
Revolution of 1978-1979, the effects it had on Iranian cinema, the second wave
of Iranian cinema in the 1980s and the emergence of female film makers in
Iran’s male dominated film industry in the 1990s.  

Iran has always had a culture rich in art and poetry long
before the invention of cinema. Persian poetry was, and still is full of
symbolism that has given it a unique visual sense, so when cinema was
introduced into Iran in 1912 it became extremely popular1.
Hamid Naficy writes about the introduction of cinema to Iran in his book, A social History of Iranian Cinema.2
Cinema in Iran was not always universally acclaimed however. The films made in
Iran before the late 1960s are commonly known as FILMFARSI. This term is coined
to vulgar Iranian films.3
These films were highly influenced by both Hollywood and Bollywood melodramas
and thrillers. FILMFARSI dominated Iranian cinemas for much of the 1950s and
1960s. These Iranian films released were filled with song- and-dance, action
and comedy. They portrayed unrealistic, showboating male heroes and semi-naked
female stars.4  These films were unrealistic and of poor
quality. What is now called New Wave Iranian Cinema emerged in the late 1960s as
a sophisticated response to these superficial films.  The birth of this new type of cinema is also
known as pre- revolutionary Iranian cinema or the first wave of Iranian cinema.

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     New Wave
Iranian cinema was highly influenced by the French New Wave movement from the
1950s and 1960s. French New Wave cinema is considered one of the most
significant movements in the history of cinema.5
A new generation of filmmakers were unhappy with the current French film
industry and used Italian Neo-realism to influence the films they made. They
encouraged freedom of expression and a new, more natural style of acting. There
was suddenly a gap for young filmmakers to succeed using low budget films. In
order to keep budgets low, they primarily shot on location using unknown actors
and small production crews. They shot as quickly as possible using hand held
equipment. The content of these films were usually tales of youths and were
unpolished and sometimes disjointed. The French New Wave taught the new
generation to experiment with the rules of film and to rethink production
The term New Wave is always identified in film history with the directors
involved but was not actually invented by them. The term was first used by a
journalist named Françoise Giroud in late 1957. She wrote a number of articles
on the young French generation for the weekly news magazine L’Express. Because
of the new generation of filmmakers, the term soon became associated with the
‘youth’ phenomenon in French cinema.7.
Iran as a country has always had a deep admiration for French culture so when French
cinema went through an epic change, it affected Iranian cinema greatly.8

1 Parhami,
Shahin. Iranian Cinema: Before the Revolution. Volume 3. Issue 6. November 1999. Web.

2 Naficy,
Hamid, A social History of Iranian Cinema, Duke University Press, USA, 2011,

3 Hamshahi.
Daily Morning. The New Wave in Iranian Cinema – From Past to Present. An
interview with Ahmad Talebinejad. Vol. 3. No.639. Page 10. 7
March 1995.

4  Tapper,
Richard.  The New Iranian Cinema;
Politics, Representation and Identity, IB TAURIS, 2006. web.

5 Drazin.
Charles. The Faber Book of French Cinema. FABER and FABER. London. United
Kingdom. 01 March 2011. Print.

6 Neupert.
Richard. A History of the French New Wave Cinema. The University of Wisconsin
Press. 1930 Monroe Street Madison. Wisconsin. 2002. Print.

Graham. Peter. The French New Wave: Critical Landmarks. British Film Institute.
16 April 2009. Print.

8 Neupert.
Richard. A History of the French New Wave Cinema. The University of Wisconsin
Press. 1930 Monroe Street Madison. Wisconsin. 2002. Print.