Sep 11, 2020, 5:29 PM
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Iranian Cinema: 120 years of magnificent presence

Tehran, Sept 11, IRNA – In 2000, September 11 was designated as the "Cinema Day" in Iran to pay tribute to the outstanding achievements of people who are involved in the seventh art on September. The day marked the anniversary of the arrival of cinema in Iran one hundred years ago.

Since then, the people of art and culture in Iran have commemorated the name of cinema as art, industry, and life every year on September 11, except for a short two-year break.

September 11 is celebrated as Cinema Day in Iran every year. The last edition of the 21st celebration of Iranian cinema was held in 2019 but the conditions are now different in 2020 due to the coronavirus outbreak and thus different arrangements have been made to commemorate this day.

**Reasons for naming Cinema Day

"National Cinema Day" was named in the fourth major celebration of Iranian cinema in 2000 and concurred with the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the arrival of cinema in Iran.

Each year the celebration by the House of Cinema is held on this day and the date has found its way into the calendar as a symbolic day. Since then, apart from a year, this day has been celebrated in a great way throughout the country with diverse cultural and artistic events.

**History of Cinema's Arrival in Iran

The art of cinema - cinematography as it was called at those days - was first introduced to Iran by Mozaffar ad-Din Shah Qajar, the fifth Qajar king of Persia, in 1900, just five years after the Lumière brothers first created the cinematograph in 1985.

Mirza Ebrahim Khan alias 'Akkas Bashi' was Iran's first filmmaker and cameraman. He was the official photographer of Mozaffar ad-Din Shah Qajar.

The king ordered him to shoot scenes from the carnivals wherever he was fascinated by French carnivals and festivals, and this was the first time the acquired cinematographer had taken pictures.

The first public screening took place in Tehran in 1904, presented by Mirza Ebrahim Khan Sahaf Bashi. He arranged the screening in the back of his antique shop. In 1905, Sahaf Bashi opened the first movie theater in Cheragh Gaz Avenue in the national capital. 

However, the first public cinema hall was opened by Mehdi Khan Rossi on Alaedduleh Street. After a while, he rented a house on Lalehzar Street and took his cinema hall there.

"Doḵtar-e Lor" (Lor Girl) was the first film in which the Persian language was heard on the screen. It was produced by Ardeshir Irani in 1933.

The first Iranian cinema theater was established in 1900; just five years after the Lumiere brothers invented the cinema, "Cinema Soleil", Catholic missionaries in Tabriz. However, the cinema was closed in 1916 due to the lack of access to new films.

The first feature-length film, titled 'Abi and Rabi', was made in 1930 by Ovanes Ohanian.

**Best Films in Iranian Cinema

The selection of the best film has always been faced with a lot of difficulties.

Here are some of these choices from the perspective of the press and domestic and foreign cinema publications:

Persian Movie Magazine which is one of the most influential and oldest cinematic publications in Iran introduced a survey of the best Iranian film made in 2019. In this survey "The Deer" by Masoud Kimiai," Captain Khorshid" by Nasser Taghvai, "Bashu, the Little Stranger" by Bahram Beyzai was voted "Best Iranian Film of all time".

According to Foreign Policy Magazine in 2009, "The Cow" by Dariush Mehrjui and " Gabbeh" by Mohsen Makhmalbaf and " The Lizard" by Kamal Tabrizi were selected as the best and the Screen Magazine also mentioned "Blue Scarf" in 2011.

Translated by Amin Mohammadzadegan Khoyi

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