Iran has given us one of the world’s great civilisations and a noble cinema too, many films of humanity and intelligence. Common themes include children, the role of women and- in the case of the most critically admired director Kiarostami in particular-, film-making itself and the boundary of illusion and reality. I’m not including films by the Iranian-born Barbet Schroeder but i am including some films on Iranian subjects by Iranian directors working elsewhere.
Mehrnaz Saeed-Vafa, Jonathan Rosenbaum: Abbas Kiarostami
Hamid Dabashi: Close Up: Iranian Cinema, Past, Present and Future
Hamid Dabashi: Masters and Masterpieces of Iranian Cinema
There have been numerous female directors, including some of the most prominent overall; Forough Farrokhzad, Rakshan Bani-Etemad, Samira and Hana Makhmalbaf, Marzieh Meshkini/Makhmalbaf, Sadaf Foroughi…. and also Marjane Satrapi, Shirin Neshat, Ziba Mir-Hosseini and Mehrnaz Saeed-Vafa based abroad, whose Iranian-set films i’m including in this list.
The list below is in year order, and i’ve included a few major films i’ve yet to see.
Through the Olive Trees, Gabbeh, And Life Goes On, Brick and Mirror, Close Up, The White Balloon, Bashu the Little Stranger, Taxi, Fireworks Wednesday.
See also Arsaib’s excellent list Sohrab Shahid Saless about the Iranian director who went on to make radical films in West Germany but who has never received due attention either in that country or in general studies internationally of Iranian cinema.
Oh and do read My Uncle Napoleon, one of my favourite novels.Read less