Iranian New Wave: A Revolutionary Movement in Cinema

May 10, 2023, 6:39 a.m. Iranian New Wave Evelyn Lark

Iranian New Wave: A Revolutionary Movement in Cinema

The Iranian New Wave is a revolutionary movement that emerged in the late 1960s and continued through the 1970s. This movement signified a significant shift in Iranian cinema, as filmmakers began to explore new themes, narratives, and aesthetics that challenged the conventional norms of the time. This essay delves into the history, characteristics, and key films of the Iranian New Wave, a movement that not only left an indelible mark on the country's film industry but also influenced global cinema.

The Iranian New Wave was a response to the changing socio-political landscape of Iran in the 1960s. The movement emerged as a reaction to the strict censorship laws and government control over the film industry, which often resulted in formulaic and escapist films. The filmmakers of the Iranian New Wave sought to create a new kind of cinema, one that was deeply rooted in Iranian culture and history, and that addressed the pressing social and political issues of the time.

The Iranian New Wave is characterized by its unique narrative structures, realism, and a strong focus on social issues. Filmmakers often employed non-professional actors, naturalistic settings, and minimalistic dialogue to create a sense of authenticity and realism in their films. The movement was also heavily influenced by the French New Wave and Italian Neorealism, which contributed to its distinct visual style and approach to storytelling.

Some of the key themes explored in Iranian New Wave films include the lives of ordinary people, social inequality, poverty, and the struggle for justice. These films often feature characters who are marginalized by society, allowing the audience to gain a deeper understanding of their experiences and the challenges they face.

Now, let's take a look at ten essential films that exemplify the Iranian New Wave:

  1. The Cow (1969) - Directed by Dariush Mehrjui
  2. The Brick and the Mirror (1965) - Directed by Ebrahim Golestan
  3. The House is Black (1963) - Forough Farrokhzad's groundbreaking documentary
  4. A Simple Event (1973) - Directed by Sohrab Shahid Saless
  5. Still Life (1974) - Another film by Sohrab Shahid Saless
  6. The Report (1977) - Directed by Abbas Kiarostami
  7. The Traveler (1974) - One of Kiarostami's early films
  8. Downpour (1972) - Directed by Bahram Beyzai
  9. The Cycle (1978) - Directed by Dariush Mehrjui
  10. The Deer (1974) - Directed by Masoud Kimiai

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