Iranian movies made in free countries


Iranian movies made in free countries
by Anonymouse

Last week I saw the movie Women Without Men which I'll write a review for later in another blog.  In this blog I want to talk about movies that are made or can be made in free societies such as America or Europe or elsewhere.  What good is all the attention and controversies about Iran if we can't make good use of it.

I think there should be more movies with an Iranian twist made outside Iran where there is no restriction or censorship.  Just top of my head I can think of a few like Maryam (2002) or House of Sand and Fog (2003) or Unveiled (2005).  There is also the imfamous Not Without My Daughter (1991) or The Stoning Of Soraya M (2008).

I'm sure there are more that I'm missing but after seeing Women Without Men I thought why aren't more movies made from a historical perspective?  We have 50 years of Pahlavi dynasty which produced the leaders of the 1979 revolution and a whole lot of stories which were never told under the Monarchy.  Had Iran became a democracy there would have been many movies made about that era.  Some are made but they are cheezy and under censorship and women wear scarves!  So they are no good.

Hollywood makes a lot of movies or even re-make of old movies about newsmakers or fascinating people from different walks of life.  For example, movies about Martin Luther King or Malcolm X or Lincoln or Nixon or even Clinton in Primary Colors or Nelson Mandela and so on and so forth.  Sometimes there are several movies made about a person or an event or a story.

Iranian directors and filmmakers have done a good job making movies about Iran after the revolution and life under Islamic Republic.  Considering the censorship and the problems the regime puts in their way, by and large they've done a good job.  There are a lot more stories to be told when some day the censorship goes away like after the Shah but until that day movies can be made outside Iran which will find its way into Iran like all other movies anyway.

I think the problem of not having enough Iranian movies is probably the money and with limited resources it is very difficult to make good movies and then these movies get a reputation of being made on the cheap.  But they can still be made and become successful.  Iranian actors don't have to play foreign roles to get accolades like Shohreh Aghdashloo getting an Emmy for her portrayal of Saddam's wife in House of Saddam.  She or someone else can play Shah's wife and be in a good movie or a mini series.  Or an American actor can play and Iranian character in a good movie like Ben Kingsley playing Mossadegh, he played Gandhi and he can play Mossadegh.

If you know of some good Iranian movies made outside Iran please post them.  I'm sure if any Iranian movie was made outside Iran has it listed here somewhere, problem is you have to know the title to look for it!


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more from Anonymouse

Niki jaan I agree there are so many stories

by Anonymouse on

I was thinking of a story about Googoosh for example.  There can be a whole movie about it.  Or Shirin Ebadi or basically middle class lives during 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s of Iran,

That movie Women Without Men is a good example  I'll write a separate review about it.

There are even stories about life after leaving Iran.  Funny In Farsi is an example.  I think some day this potential is going to be tapped.  I just hope for sooner rather than later so we can be witness!

Everything is sacred

Niki Tehranchi

I always thought simple, human interest stories

by Niki Tehranchi on

about family, love, cooking, dancing, singing etc kind of like a Persian Version of Like Water for Chocolate (Mexican magical realism) or My Big Fat Wedding (Greeks in America) or Bend it like Beckham (Indians in England) would be so nice to put into film, as a change from the typical revolutionary dramas or tear filled immigrant broken backbone stories.  Because it does represent a huge and positive aspect of our culture that has not really been depicted.  And while historical sagas and complex political films may not attract a large audience outside of the Iranian immigrant communities, these kind of stories have a universal appeal for everyone cause they can certainly relate to these themes.  It would be a good way to break in and attract some interest and not so traditional arthouse or foreign-loving audiences to the cinema.

Darius Kadivar

The One with Meryl Streep was a Rumor

by Darius Kadivar on

It was never confirmed by her Agent and unlike my links it is not even mentioned on

But yes often between a Films announcement and the effective filming there is a great amount of time before shooting effectively starts.

A Good example is the Hobbit Film which was delayed for several years and even at one point abandoned by Peter Jackson only to finally relaunched for shooting in a few months with the same Peter Jackson at the helm.

Hopefully these films will come to completion too. The plots are exciting and Big names are associated to these projects and confirmed by the movie companies in their planning agendas.  

So Stay Tuned and keep your fingers crossed ! 


DK jaan may god hears it from your mouth!

by Anonymouse on

Those links you provided were dated 2007 and 2008 and you mention they'll be released in 2012 or later?!  I guess better late than never but those story lines are really good, aren't they?  They can even make big budget movies out of them.  I mean they make thousands of gladiator movies killing each other with swords but they can't make one about Iran?!

I also hear Meryl Streep is going to play in a movie portraying that Iranian woman painter who was illiterate but made magnificant paintings learned totally on her own.  Forgot her name. 

Everything is sacred


jigsawnovich interesting clip

by Anonymouse on

There can be so many movies made about the election coup of 2009.  Jafar Panahi tried to "think" about making one and got arrested!  Iranian filmmakers will try to have pieces talking about that time here and there in various movies and get around the censors.  It won't be rightaway but I can see them incorporating some things in future movies.

Everything is sacred


Faramarz those were the early movies

by Anonymouse on

Those early movies weren't that good.  I remember the movies you mentiond but couldn't find a link for them.  Today's movies made surrounding Iran are a lot better and they can only get better.  They also don't have to be within the past 30 years since Islamic Republic, they can be stories out of the 50 years of Pahlavi.  Stand alone stories.

About Afghdashloo and house of sand, well those were and still are the realities about Iran and Iranians.  Women are much much more angry about Islamic Republic and a lot lot less reluctant to live there and once they get out they don't want to move back, as some men may consider.  Women have a lot more to loose and suffer than men in Iran.

Our whole lives have become so frustrating having to be associated with Ahmadi and the whole gender apartheid dictatorship regime.  Of course we are not them and he doesn't represent us but we don't always get a chance to "explain". 

Everything is sacred


Niki jaan you're right but there are still many Iranian artists

by Anonymouse on

You're right many, most, Iranian parents want their kids to become doctors or engineers or lawyers.  But more and more are choosing other options or the options left are other than doctors and engineers.

In Iran many were moved to become involved in arts and cinema.  Many many movies were made and many musical groups established but as we all know then came Ahmadi and his goons and they put a stop to all of that.

They don't all have to be Iranian actors many actors from other countries can play the parts.  All they need is black eyes and hair :-)  I think there are plenty of good scripts and story lines that can be explored.  George Clooney went to Iran in that Syrianna movie.  You're right many independent movies are Oscar worthy and in fact many (myself included) are more interested in them than in Hollywood generic movies,

So lets hope for more Iranian movies as our 2nd, 3rd and 4th generations come of age and make that mighty dollar that is needed to make good movies ;-) 

Everything is sacred

Darius Kadivar

Good Observation Anon Jaan ..Four In Pre Production Already ...

by Darius Kadivar on

Due either in 2012 or Later ... 




George Clooney's Great Escape From Tehran  by DK


HBO TV Drama In Production:

HBO TV Drama: Mark Bowden’s "Guests of the Ayatollah" in Pre-Production


As for Sir Ben Kingsley he has expressed interest to portray the Shah in the past:

Kingsly's Oscar

Crash of 79

As for Good Ol' Mossadegh ... I am Afraid he has to wait his turn ... ;0) 


Related Blogs:

A Short independent Film on the Shah's exile in Panama and Mexico:

LIBERATION: New Movie about the Shah's last days (Trailer)

Carlos taking Jamshid Amouzegar Hostage along with Saudi Sheik Yaki Zamani depicted in this film:

CARLOS - THE JACKAL: Olivier Assayas' Bio Epic on Carlos and the OPEC Hostage Taking

The US Iran Hostage dillemma based on Sen John Limbert's memoirs also depicted in this TV Film back in the 1980's:


MON CINEMA: "Iran: Days of Crisis" aka "L'Amerique En Otage" (1991) 



short film by director from Tehran

by jigsawnovich on

This short film was directed by a young Iranian from Tehran who is living in Malaysia: //

It won the Near East category of the Democracy Video Challenge. See this Facebook page for more information: //


On Wings of Eagles

by Faramarz on

There are not many movies that are made outside of Iran that tell the interesting stories of the past 30 years. Persepolis is probably the only one.

In 1986 there was a made for TV mini series called On Wings of Eagles, starring Burt Lancaster that told the story of Ross Perot's EDS employees rescue from Evin prison. It was based on a book by Ken Follett. The Iranian employees of EDS were portrayed as nice, educated and helpful. Everybodyelse was a thug!

On the lighter side, I didn't really care for Shoreh Aghdashloo's role in House of Sand and Fog. She was constantly complaining about leaving Iran and this and that. I think that any Iranian women of that age group and similar situation could have played that role without any problems!

Parviz Sayyad's The Mission (1983) and Checkpoint (1987) also come to mind.

Niki Tehranchi

100% in agreement

by Niki Tehranchi on

I would love to see more Iranian films made outside Iran, and bonus if made by Iranian filmmakers/actors.  As you say, problem number one is money.  I don't see studios greenlighting too many projects about Iranian history and history-makers.  But a lot of filmmakers can make their mark with independent movies.  If they are good, or good enough, they will attract critical notice and be featured in festivals.  I can think of a number of American directors whose first feature was made and looked cheap, like In the Company of Men or Sex, Lies and Videotape.  People were interested anyways and now Steven Soderbergh and Aaron Eckhart are household names.

Another problem is that immigrant families tend to be very conservative and push their kids towards stable careers such as law and medicine even if the kid is very artistic and would rather hold a camera all day long.  Even today, the few people who have made it like Maz Jobrani joke how they had to shock their parents after giving up law school or medical school or what have you. 

And remember when Shohreh Aghdashloo was interviewed for her Oscar nomination in House of Sand and Fog? When the interviewer asked her the best part about the nomination, she didn't say the attention, the pretty dresses, the fabulous parties or even the chance for more roles.  She said it was finally hearing her dad saying on the other end of the line that he was proud of her.  Imagine she had to wait so many decades to hear that simple word? As she teared up, I teared up too and thought how sad that we stigmatize the few people from our community who dare to put themselves out there in show business...

As our immigrant communities around the world get a bit more financially and socially stable, they may feel confident enough to let their kids or grandkids  pursue their artistic endevaors. 


Sargord don't show off your two cents again

by Anonymouse on

I gave credit to the movies made in Iran.  I watch a lot of Iranian movies so I know what they are and the limitations they are under.

The issue here is not them, the issue here is using the freedom and lack of censorship and making movies about Iran and Iranian stories.  The only limitation here is money.

Of course it is useless explaining these things to you because you don't even acknowledge the best Iranian filmmakers like Kiarostami or Panahi or others who know better about the limits Islamic Republic enforces on them. You don't even acknowledge the dictatorship and censorship in Iran.

Everything is sacred

Sargord Pirouz

Even with the government

by Sargord Pirouz on

Even with the government bureaucracy, certain Iranians movies made inside Iran are better than those made outside. 

I enjoy their non-Hollywood type plots, thus they're refreshing. Some of the ones I've recently seen and liked:

The Song of Sparrows (2008) 

Deserted Station (2002) 

A Time of Drunken Horses (2000)

Baran (2000)

The Color of Paradise (1999) 

Son Maryam (1998)