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Arts, Theater and Film

Majid Majidi, Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Abbas Kiarostami, Pahlavi dynasty, Iranian films

A type of passion play called taízia, depicting events of Shia religious history, developed during the Safavid era (1501-1722) and enjoyed great popularity during Qajar rule (1794-1925). Influenced by increased European contact, playwrights of the 19th and early 20th centuries wrote satires that often called for reform. During the Pahlavi dynasty (1925-1979), plays were typically patriotic and pro-Western. Since the 1979 revolution, which sought to promote Islamic values, the government has encouraged playwrights but has prohibited plays considered immoral or antireligious.

Iranian filmmakers produced the first Iranian feature films in the early 1930s and have made more than 1,000 movies since then. Iranian directors often also write the screenplays for their movies. During the 1990s several Iranian films won awards at international film festivals. Award-winning filmmakers include Bahram Bayzai, Abbas Kiarostami, Majid Majidi, Mohsen Makhmalbaf, and Dariush Mehrjui. In 1997 Kiarostami's Taste of Cherry won the prestigious Palme díOr (Golden Palm) award for best film at the Cannes Film Festival, and in 1999 Majidiís Children of Heaven was nominated for an Academy Award for best foreign film of 1998.



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