Iran Music and Cinema

By | September 1, 2021

(Jomhūrī-ye Eslamī-ye Irān). As a country located in Middle East according to collegesanduniversitiesinusa, Iran is a state of Western Asia (1,648,195 km²). Capital: Tehran. Administrative division: ostān provinces (30). Population: 72,213,000 residents (2008 estimate). Language: fārsī (Persian). Religion: Muslims (Shiites 93.9%, Sunnis 5.7%) Christians 0.1%, others 0.3%. Monetary unit: riāl (100 dinars). Human Development Index: 0.777 (84th place). Borders: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Caspian Sea (N), Afghanistan and Pakistan (E), Gulf of ʽOman and Persian Gulf (S), Iraq and Turkey (W). Member of: OCI, UN and OPEC.


The courts of the Iranian kings favored singing (sarwad) and music (rūd) expressed with instruments such as the harp (chang), the pandora (tanbūr), the lutes (barbaṭ, rubāb), the flutes (rūyin nāy), the horns and trumpets (karranāy, shaipūr), drums (kūs), etc. However, there is no precise information on Iranian music theory due to the inexistence of specific treaties; there would initially have been seven ways, which became thirty around the century. VII, with 360 melodies possibly related to cosmogonic conceptions revealing the influence of the music of ancient Mesopotamia. Famous musicians, in the period of greatest splendor of the Sassanid dynasty (III-VII century) were Bārbad of Fārs, Angisiyyā and Al-Naḍr (d. 624); famous were also the singers-harpists Āzāda and Shīrīn. Through the important center of al-Ḥīra, capital of the Lakhmids, Iranian music penetrated Arab countries and conditioned the subsequent development of Islamic music. The first musician of Islam was Ṭuwais (d. 710), an expert imitator of Iranian melodies. The famous Ibn Suraij (d. 710), Ma’bad (d. 743), Ibn Misjaḥ (d. 715) and Ibn Muḥriz (d. 755) studied in Iran for a long time. Later the national characters of Iranian music merged with the Arab ones and remained a unique Islamic style, still adopted today.

Iran Music


Through the intervention of the Shah, the cinema was introduced in 1900, but the first public hall was opened in Tehran only in 1913. The first quality works, however, date back to 1958, the year of Il sud della città by F. Ghaffary, inspired by neorealism, however immediately prohibited. The night of the hunchback (1964) by Ghaffary himself, The brick and the mirror (1965) by I. Gholestan and Siyāvach in Persepoli (1967) by F. Rahnamā, in addition to the dazzling documentary on lepers The house is black, with which the young poetess Forough Farrokhzad won the 1966 grand prix in Oberhausen, they anticipated the explosion of the nouvelle vague, which can be traced back to the film The Cow (1969) by Daryush Mehrjui. Thus was born a cinema of testimony, intervention and poetry on the life of cities, villages and the desert, whose most famous titles were: Il postino (1972) by Mehrjui himself, La tranquility in the presence of others (1971) by Nasser Taghvāi, Dāsh Akol (1971) by Massud Kimiai; and then The Shower (1971), The Stranger and the Mist (1974) and The Ballad of Tara (1978) by Bahram Beyzai; I Mongoli (1973), The Garden of Stones (1976) and OK Mister (1978) by Parviz Kimiavi; A simple case (1973), Quiet life (1974) and Diary of a lover (1976) by Sohrab Shahid-Saless who then worked in Germany (where he made Order, 1980; Sender unknown, 1983; Utopia, 1983). With an annual average of approx. 80 feature films, commercial production, called fārsī, that is Persian, nevertheless occupied the screens with its tales of revenge and honor killings. On the other hand, the new Iranian cinema called motefāvet, that is different, also based on other names such as Arby Ovanessian (The source), Parviz Sayyad (Cul-de-sac, 1977) found no space, except abroad where it was sent as a cultural alibi; The mission, awarded in Locarno in 1983) and Marva Nabili (La terra sigata, 1977). With the advent of an increasingly monolithic Islamic revolution on the ideological level, there was a decline in commercial production, but also a worried hermeticism in “different” cinema, as indicated by two titles by ʽAlī Erfān: Tutt’e tre, lui dice and Il Mr. Hieroglyph.At the end of the 1980s, Iranian cinema, in spite of censorship and constraints, began to gain recognition from Western audiences, participating with well-known films in international events. In particular, the intensity and personality of Amir Naderi, an extraordinary self-taught figure, who with The Runner (1985), the story of an abandoned boy who struggles daily for survival, and with Acqua, vento e sabbia (1986-89), a ballad without dialogue, of great visual beauty, he reached heights of absolute value. Other talented directors turned out to be: Abbas Kiarostami with Where is my friend’s house (1987), The wind will take us away (1999), awarded at the Venice Film Festival, and Dieci (2002); K. Ayyari with Beyond the Fire (1988), Bidar show, Arezoo! (2005; Wake up, Arezu!); B. Beyza’i with Bashu, the little stranger (1986-89), Sagkoshi (2001; Killing Mad Dogs); S. Ebrahimifar with Nar-o-Ney (1989), Movajehe (2006); M. Makhmalbaf with The cyclist (1989), Journey to Kandahar (2001); Jafar Panahi, winner of the Golden Lion in Venice in 2000 with The Circle and the Silver Bear in Berlin in 2006 for Offside; Mohammad Shirvani (1973), director of Nahf (2004); Amir Naderi (1946), director of A, B, C… Manhattan (1997) and Marathon (2002); Kamal Tabrizi with Marmoulak (2004).