in the Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery:
|12th & R Sts||University of Nebraska-Lincoln:||(402) 472-5353|
Along with China, Iran has been
lauded as one of the exporters of great cinema in the nineties. World-renowned German
filmmaker Werner Herzog, along with many film critics from around the world, has praised
Iranian cinema as one of the world's most important emerging artistic cinemas. Gaining
momentum since the late 80's, the Iranian wave reached a symbolic crest in the summer of
1997, when Iranian films won the top prizes at the Cannes, Locarno, and Montreal Film
Festivals. With the Iranian revolution in 1979 came a ban against all Hollywood movies.
Only a few years later, Iranian films are capturing major prizes at many of the world's
most prestigious film festivals. Here in America, Iranian cinema is something of an
unknown quantity, thanks in part to the American media's one-dimensional depiction of
Iran. In fact, American audiences are becoming aware of Iranian films just as the wave
seems to be cresting. To American audiences, accustomed to Hollywood editing and liberal
doses of nudity and mayhem, the pace and look of Iranian films may represent a challenge.
A mandate against the depiction of sex and gratuitous violence has forced Iranian
filmmakers to create excitement in other ways. Filmmaking in Iran dates back to the turn
of the century, when the making of home movies became an aristocratic hobby at the Ghajar
court. An Iranian art cinema-thoughtful films focusing on contemporary social
problems-first attracted international attention in the late '60s. After the revolution,
the new regime recognized the power of film to reach and influence a mass audience, and
took steps to develop a distinctive national cinema. From a mere 15 features in 1982,
Iranian production has grown to an average of 52 titles per year during the past decade.
By no means do all these belong on the international art house circuit. Nonetheless, when
one surveys the best work of the past 10 years, the number of Iran's world-class films and
filmmakers is astounding. This retrospective will present a selection of some of the best
works of contemporary Iranian cinema, which will also offer an excellent perspective on
contemporary life in Iran, something not readily available in our country.
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