Anthropology Ethnographic Films from Iran
by
Persheng Sadegh-Vaziri
  • LAST MODIFIED: 24 March 2021
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199766567-0259

Introduction

Iranian ethnographic films began with a focus on preserving Iran’s diverse traditions and indigenous cultures. Many of these films were salvage documentaries marked by nostalgia for disappearing traditions of rural and tribal life. The earliest film from this tradition is Grass (1924), which is about tribal migration and was made by American explorers before ethnographic films were recognized as a tradition. The impetus to preserve rural and tribal cultures first came from a group of filmmakers who were trained by a team of specialists from United States Information Service’s (USIS) film program and a team of filmmakers from Syracuse University, who came to Iran in the late 1940s and 1950s to help with development and modernization. They made propaganda and educational films that promoted industrialization, health, agriculture, and education in remote regions of Iran. They also trained Iranian filmmakers who later made actuality films, some of which could be considered ethnographic, with support from state institutions such as the Ministry of Culture and Art and National Iranian Radio and Television (NIRT). The notion of what constitutes ethnographic film has been debated by scholars and filmmakers since ethnographic film was first conceived. Ethnographic film has occupied a marginal space in the academic discipline of anthropology because many films that are considered ethnographic lack rigorous scientific research and are not made by anthropologists. Many of the films discussed here are documentaries that provide detailed documentation of daily life and customs of Iranian people but most are not films made by ethnographers. Meaningful university support for the production of academic ethnographic films was rarely available in Iran, except during the leadership of Nader Afshar Naderi at Tehran University’s Social Sciences division in the early 1960s. He introduced ethnographic film to Iranian academia and made several films with detailed attention to customs and traditions of Iranian tribes. Besides films about tribes and Iran’s cultural traditions that have continued into the present day, since the Iranian Revolution of 1979, films of ethnographic value have been made about the Iran-Iraq War and more recently about urban life. Filmmakers documented the eight-year war in a long-running television series that observed soldiers on the front lines. Finally, since the early 2000s, some independent filmmakers have made films that focus on city life, particularly documenting lives of young Iranians, or have made personal and autobiographical films by turning the camera on their own lives.

General Overviews

The first general studies of Iranian ethnographic films are found in overviews of documentary and narrative cinema and reviews of the history and traditions of documentary cinema worldwide, with sections dedicated to films of ethnographic value. Naficy 1977 provides a comprehensive historical and theoretical anthology of documentary film with sections on Iranian ethnographic films of this period. Issari 1989 presents an overview of Iranian cinema from 1900 to 1979, with a notable section on the contributions of the Syracuse University team, of which he was a part. Gharabaghi 2018 conducts a thorough exploration of the Syracuse University and USIS project in Iran. Naficy 2011–2012 is a comprehensive and critical exploration of Iranian cinema in four volumes that covers 1900 to the 1990s with sections on documentary and ethnographic films. The only volumes dedicated specifically to Iranian ethnographic films from 1920s to the 1990s are critical reviews, mainly in Persian, by Emami 2005, Emami 2009, and Naficy 2013. Fakouhi 2008 also offers a general study of ethnographic film history and theory with a few chapters that are dedicated to Iranian films.

  • Adel, S. 2000. Cinema-ye ghom pajoohi. Tehran, Iran: Soroush Publishing.

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    This book is a general review of ethnographic films and its history since inception. Chapters include, “Beginnings of anthropology,” “Visual Ethnography,” and “Iranian Ethnographic Cinema.” Discussions of major theories and perspectives from filmmakers are also included plus a list of significant ethnographic films.

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  • Emami, H. 2005. Pishine-ye ghom pajooheshi dar cinema-e mostanad Iran. Ketab-e Mah-e Honar 85, 86 (September, October/Mehr, Aban): 70–82.

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    This article divides ethnographic film history into sections, such as travel films, pre-revolution films made in the Ministry of Arts and Culture, films of ethnographic interest made in pre-revolution Iran, the films of N. A. Naderi, and films made since the late 1990s.

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  • Emami, H. 2009. Cinema-ye mardom shenakhti-ye Iran. Tehran, Iran: Afkar.

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    (Ethnographic cinema of Iran). Emami starts with a historical overview of ethnographic films but quickly turns its focus on Iranian films and filmmakers whose films are of ethnographic interest. There are reviews of important films that have been made since the 1960s to early 2000s, mainly films that are concerned with tribal cultures and cultures of different Iranian regions and its people.

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  • Fakouhi, N. 2008. Daramadi bar ensanshenasi tasviri va film-e etnographik (An introduction to visual ethnography and ethnographic film). Tehran, Iran: Nay.

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    An overview of history and theory of ethnographic films, with particular attention to Jean Rouch’s contributions in France and McDougal and Ashe’s in the United States. It includes several chapters that are translations from French anthropologists’ writings. There are a few chapters dedicated to some aspects of Iranian documentary or ethnographic films, such as films about city life and Nader Afshar Naderi’s work, and a round table with Iranian documentary filmmakers.

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  • Filmba.

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    Filmba is a database of Iranian documentary films and filmmakers. It mainly contains basic information about the films and the filmmakers from various decades. There is also information on books and articles on documentary films, as well as documentary film festivals, worldwide.

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  • Gharabaghi, H. 2018. American mice grow big!: The Syracuse audiovisual mission in Iran and the rise of documentary diplomacy, Doctoral diss., ProQuest Dissertations Publishing.

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    Gharabaghi makes an impressive contribution to the activities of USIS and the Syracuse University’s audiovisual program in Iran that institutionalized Iranian documentary filmmaking and was a political project to bring modernity to Iran in endeavor to align Iran with the United States at the onset of the Cold War.

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  • Issari, M. Ali. 1989. Cinema in Iran, 1900–1979. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press.

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    Issari wrote one of the first books on Iranian cinema in the United States, covering the history of early films, fiction, and documentary films before the 1979 Revolution. There is a chapter on documentary and newsreel production, from 1950 to 1965. He pays close attention to USIS (United States Information Services) and Syracuse University team’s training of filmmakers and exhibition of newsreel films in Iran during this period, when Issari was an active member of that team.

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  • Naficy, H. 1977. Film-e mostanad. 2 vols. Tehran: Azad Univ. of Iran.

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    (Documentary film.) Volume 2 is focused on the history of documentaries and different genres of documentaries. There is a chapter on ethnographic films that introduces the important films and theories of ethnographic films and discusses some important Iranian films that cover tribes, religions, and rituals.

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  • Naficy, H. 2011–2012. A social history of Iranian cinema. 4 vols. Durham, NC: Duke Univ. Press.

    DOI: 10.1515/9780822393016Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    This four-volume book has sections on pre-revolution and post-revolution documentary and ethnographic films in volumes 2 and 4, respectively. The pre-revolution section offers a thorough examination of the beginnings of ethnographic film in Iran and includes interviews with some filmmakers. Post-revolution section effectively ends in the 1990s.

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  • Naficy, H. 2013. The anthropological unconscious of Iranian ethnographic films. Anthropology of the Contemporary Middle East and Central Eurasia (January): 113–125.

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    This article examines Iranian ethnographic films and salvage documentaries that are focused on disappearing traditions of Iranian tribes and rituals. It also discusses the support of state institutions and the influence of modernity. Again, Naficy is focused mainly on films on tribal traditions and religious rituals.

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Reference Works

Anthologies of documentary and ethnographic films that cover the pre- and post-revolution period until the 1990s are included in the following books published in Iran: Mehrabi 1996 is a listing of documentary films from the early days until 1995; Kalantari 2004 is a collection of films that the filmmaker finds noteworthy, mainly since after the revolution; and Qookasian 2007 is an anthology of essays about documentary film styles and trends published in support of the first annual documentary film festival that is supported by the Documentary and Experimental Film Center (DEFC). Tahaminejad 2011 covers a historical overview of documentaries since their inception, decade by decade. Online sources have entries in Farsi and English on more recent lists of Iranian documentaries included in IMDB’s database of Iranian documentaries (IMDB), in the documentary section by Farshid Kazemi in Oxford Bibliographies (Kazemi 2018), in Filmba (cited under General Overviews), a database of documentary filmmakers and their films, and in DEFC’s annual publications on documentaries they produce Documentary and Experimental Film Center (DEFC).

Journals

Documentary and Experimental Film Center’s publication, Cinema Haghighat, is a quarterly publication that covers various documentary topics that include films of ethnographic interest. The monthly publication Honar Va Tajrobeh Film is mainly focused on fiction films but also includes documentaries. Mahnameh-ye Film is the oldest ongoing film magazine mainly concerned with feature films but has occasional interviews with documentary filmmakers and reviews of documentaries. Other journals such as Farabi Cinema Journal also occasionally explore Iranian documentaries.

  • Cinema Haghighat. 2015–.

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    (Cinema verité.) This quarterly magazine is focused on documentary films, filmmakers, and documentary theory, particularly on films that are funded by the Documentary and Experimental Film Center. In Persian.

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  • Farabi Cinema Journal 15.59/60 (Winter 2006).

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    This edition of the quarterly publication is dedicated to various types of documentary films. The majority of the publication by the Farabi Cinema Foundation is a historical review of Iranian society facing modernity and the role of its documention by filmmakers. It also discusses the different approaches of these films throughout the years.

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  • Honar Va Tajrobeh. 2014–.

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    Monthly publication of Honar va Tajrobeh (art and experience) film series. Funded by Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, this is the publication of the independent film series that began in Fall 2014. This series supports narrative and documentary films by young and first-time filmmakers, whose films are not funded by established producers and funds. The publication features interviews with filmmakers and articles about the films that are screened in the series. In Persian.

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  • Mahnameh-ye Film. 1982–.

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    (Film monthly magazine.) This is one of the oldest film magazines in Iran, which has been published since 1982 and is edited by Houshang Gomakani. It is focused on feature film releases from Iran, reviews of world cinema, and film festival reports. There are occasional articles about documentary films, mainly by Houshang Golmakani and Pirooz Kalantari. In Persian and English selections.

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Films on Tribes

The first ethnographic film made in Iran, Grass: A Nation’s Battle for Life (1925), was made by three American explorer/filmmakers. This film greatly influenced subsequent ethnographic films on tribes. Naficy 2006 explains the background of the expedition. Emami 2009 discusses the film’s strengths as a document that records the difficult migration of a Bakhtiari tribe and its influence on subsequent filmmakers. The film later inspired several Iranians to pursue documentary filmmaking and adopt an ethnographic perspective, focused on disappearing tribes and their traditions. Houshang Shafti made Flaming Poppies (1962), also based on the migration of the Bakhtiari tribe, and Farhad Varahram made Taraz as a sequel to Grass in 1986. Notably, Emami 2009 discusses anthropologist Afshar-Naderi’s work as the first serious anthropologist/ethnographic filmmaker who made films from 1961 to 1967 and other filmmakers who followed in that tradition. Beck 1987 reviews Grass’s influence on another notable film, Shahsavan Nomads of Iran (1985) by anthropologist Safizadeh and his sociologist wife A. Dallalfar.

  • Beck, L. 1987. Shahsavan nomads of Iran. American Anthropologist 89.3: 783–784.

    DOI: 10.1525/aa.1987.89.3.02a00850Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    This review of the film about Shahsavan nomadic life in northern Iran is by anthropologist Louis Beck, who did extensive work among the Qashqai tribe of central Iran. She states that Dallalfar and Safizadeh based their film on their own research and that of Richard Tapper.

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  • Emami, H. 2009. Cinema-ye mardom shenakhti-ye Iran. Tehran: Afkar.

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    (Ethnographic cinema of Iran). Emami provides a historical overview of ethnographic films but is mainly focused on Iranian films and filmmakers whose films are of ethnographic interest, including a section on Nader Afshar Naderi and Farhad Varahram. In Persian.

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  • Issari, M. Ali. 1989. Cinema in Iran 1900–1979. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow.

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    Issari worked for USIS in Iran in the 1950s and 1960s and the sections in his book regarding this period are well documented. It is an important document regarding the early period of the development of films that focused on life in remote regions of Iran.

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  • Naficy, H. 2006. Lured by the East: Ethnographic and expedition films about nomadic tribes – the case of Grass. In Virtual voyages: Cinema and travel. Edited by J. Ruoff. 117–138. Durham, NC: Duke Univ. Press.

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    Naficy illustrates the history of the making of Grass: A Nation’s Battle for Life (1925), and puts it in a postcolonial framework.

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  • Naficy, H. 2011. A social history of Iranian cinema. Vol 2, The industrializing years, 1941–1978. Durham, NC: Duke Univ. Press.

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    Volume 2, chapter 2, “The Statist Documentary Cinema and Its Alternatives” explores the state’s involvement in documentary production and United States Information Services (USIS)/Tehran’s production of newsreel films to win the hearts and minds of Iranians. It led to the training and travel of filmmakers to remote regions.

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War Cinema and After

War films that covered the Iran-Iraq War (1980–1988) are a genre that is of great importance to the formation of identity in the newly founded Islamic Republic. Filmmaker and writer Morteza Avini was instrumental in shaping the discourse of war in “Sacred Defense” films, which had a particular tone that advanced the discourse of sacrifice and Islamic fervor. They mixed poetic language and propaganda with observational footage of war, to promote a culture of self-sacrifice. A well-maintained website about Morteza Avini links to hundreds of films that he and others made during the war and shortly afterwards, as well as to the writings and poetry of Avini (Films of Sacred Defense). Varzi 2006 and Khosronejad 2012 explore Avini’s contributions to the successful television series that encouraged so many young Iranians to volunteer to fight the Iraqi enemy. After the war ended, a noteworthy endeavor that resulted in the production of several films of ethnographic interest was a fifty-two-part series of documentary films, produced by Mohammad Reza Sarhangi for Iranian television in 1990. Koodakan-e Sarzamim Iran (Children of the Land of Iran) was the first television series in post-revolution Iran that focused on Iranian identity outside of religion, as the country was moving toward a period of reconstruction. Naficy 2012 discusses this important series that set itself apart from the Islamic Republic’s discourse of war, sacrifice, transcendence, and religious rhetoric. It focused instead on rural life in diverse and remote regions of Iran.

  • Aviny, M. Films of Sacred Defense.

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    This website is dedicated to the films of the Sacred Defense or the eight-year war with Iraq (1980–1988). It holds information on films by Morteza Avini, war journalist and filmmaker, who was martyred after the war ended when he was blown up by a mine. It includes the filmmaker’s biography, his poetry, photographs, and clips from his films.

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  • Khosronejad, P., ed. 2012. Iranian sacred defense cinema: Religion, martyrdom and national identity. Herefordshire, UK: Sean Kingston Publishing.

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    This edited book looks at Iranian war cinema from different perspectives, including trauma, faith, aesthetics, and sociological conditions of the war and postwar period, with particular attention to the films of Avini and Hatamikia.

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  • Naficy, H. 2012. A social history of Iranian cinema. Vol 4, The globalizing era, 1984–2010. Durham, NC: Duke Univ. Press.

    DOI: 10.1515/9780822393542Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    Chapter 1, “Resurgence of Nonfiction Cinema: Post-revolutionary Documentaries and Fiction War Films,” has a section on ethnographic and quasi-ethnographic documentaries that deliberates on several films that were made for the series, Koodakan-e Sarzamim Iran (Children of the Land of Iran). Naficy also discusses modern subjectivity versus sacred subjectivity in Morteza Aviny and war films.

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  • Varzi, R. 2006. Warring souls: Youth, media and martyrdom in post revolution Iran. Durham, NC: Duke Univ. Press.

    DOI: 10.1515/9780822388036Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    Varzi explores the youth culture after the Iran-Iraq war, with an anthropological perspective. She examines the cinema of Sacred Defense and the legacy of Avini’s work in shaping and defining the Islamic Republic.

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Legacy of Nader Afshar Naderi

Several filmmakers have continued to document Iranian tribes and traditions following the legacy of anthropologist Afshar Naderi, though none were from that academic tradition. Farhad Varahram met Afshar Naderi in 1974 and became a researcher and cameraman for the film division of the Institute for Peasant and Rural Studies, collaborating with him on the production of Golab (1976). He wrote a few ethnographic monographs, researching topics for films, and made his first ethnographic film, Nakhl, in 1977 about the religious Ashura ceremony in Abyaneh in central Iran (Emami 2005, Fazeli 2006). He has continued his filmmaking and his ethnographic interests in the last decades on topics ranging from the tradition of sacrificing camels in Kashan for Eid to the lives of African heritage people of southern Iran. His most recent film is about a traditional wedding ceremony on the Persian Gulf island of Qeshm. Another prolific and long-standing filmmaker who has made films of ethnographic interest is Farshad Fadaian. Emami 2019 provides a review of Fadaian’s work, which relies on research and is against dramatization in documentaries, making Fadaian’s approach compatible with ethnographic films. Though many of his films do not have ethnographic topics and are rather industrial documentaries or personal films and portraits, he has also made several films that are about traditions and places that are on the verge of being lost. Seyyed Ghelich Ishan’s School (1996) was made for Koodakan-e Sarzamim Iran series, and Zaker (2007) is the portrait of a Sufi musician and master from Khorasan region in northeastern Iran. Manouchehr Tayyab is another noteworthy filmmaker who has explored Iran’s cultural heritage and its people in his films. Of note are Iran, The Land of Religions (1972), which is a collage of scenes of Iranians of various religions in their practices, The Persian Gulf (2007) and Zagros (2016), which are meticulous explorations of these geographic regions.

The Younger Generation of Filmmakers

The younger generation of filmmakers are not particularly focused on ethnographic films about tribes. However, there are several who have made films of ethnographic interest. Sadegh-Vaziri 2016 discusses several notable filmmakers and trends from those who began making films around 2000. These films have been of great critical interest in Iran and led other filmmakers to follow the trend. Mehrdad Oskouie has several observational films that portray the lives of people on the margins of society. One of his first films, My Mother’s Home Lagoon (1999), is a short that follows a middle-aged fisher-woman in the Caspian Sea area. His latest films document life for young runaway girls and boys in rehab homes. His approach is observational and his camera lingers for extended periods with his characters. Some of Oskouei’s films are distributed in the Europe and United States as ethnographic films and have won awards in ethnographic film festivals, such Jean Rouch International Film Festival in Paris (Oskouie). Another filmmaker who looks at marginal people in big cities is Mohsen Ostad Ali. Day Break (2012) is about life in a Tehran apartment that housed several young men, recently released from jail, with a strictly observational approach. The trend of personal and self-portrait films that begain in the 2010s is reviewed by Sadegh-Vaziri 2016, Attarzadeh 2018, and Jahanshad 2013. Young generations of filmmakers are also interested in urban life and have been making films about the megacity, Tehran. Safarian 2005 is an edited collection of articles on documentaries and city life. Rokhdad-Taze Mostanad is a series of film screenings organized by an independent group that explores documentaries from a sociological perspective and they screen and publish information about films and urban life.

  • Attarzadeh, A. 2018. Parvandeh: Khod-negari dar cinema-ye mostanad. Cinema Haghighat 16: 20–84.

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    (Autobiography in documentary cinema). This is a collection of articles by various writers including Attarzadeh, along with articles by Carolyn Anderson, Laura Rascaroli, and Michael Renov that appear in translation. There is also a discussion with Pirooz Kalantari and Mehdi Bagheri titled “Behind the Scenes of Life.” These works provide critical discusions of autobiographical and personal films.

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  • Jahanshad, P. 2013. Khod chehreh negari dar cinema-ye mostanad. Filmnegar Monthly (March and April/Esfand and Farvardin) 11.123–124: 164–167.

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    (Self-portrait in documentary films). In this thoughtful exploration of self-portrait films, which at the time had become quite popular in Iran, Jahanshad examines the place of the director and subject in such films and the contradictions that may result.

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  • Oskouie, M..

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    This Persian language database has entries on documentary films and filmmakers and even archives of films. Some entries, including the one on Mehrdad Oskouie, are very thorough.

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  • Rokhdade-Taze-mostanad. Tehran, Iran: Telegram.

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    Curated by Pouria Jahanshad and other organizers, this app group posts news, articles, and discussions regarding their monthly screenings of documentary films in Tehran. They provide a sociological approach to studying their documentary series. (Telegram is an app that is widely used in Iran)

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  • Sadegh-Vaziri, P. 2016. Iranian documentary film culture: Cinema, society, and power, 1997–2014. Ph.D. diss., Temple Univ.

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    Sadegh-Vaziri explores various trends in the development of documentary filmmakers, including a section titled “Personal Documentaries and Essay Films.”

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  • Safarian, R., ed. 2005. Documentary cinema, city and modern society. Quarterly on Urbanology 3–4 (Summer and Autumn).

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    This edition features articles by H. Emami, A. MirEhasan, P. Jahed, R. Safarian, and P. Kalantari about urban issues and urban identiy of city dwellers.

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Ethnographic Film and Its Theoretical Considerations

Ethnographic films have not always been directly connected to the academic tradition of anthropology, as demonstrated by Robert Flaherty’s Nanook of the North, which is considered one the earliest and finest examples of this tradition. The second most popular ethnographic film of the 1920s was Grass, also made by non-ethnographers, depicting the journey of a nomadic tribe in central Iran. Both these films demonstrate ethnographic films’ beginnings as a phenomenon of colonialism in the West, connected to the study of distant cultures and colonial expansion. Naficy 2013 claims that Iranian ethnographic filmmaking was a response to rapid modernization and the need to document the country’s traditions before they disappeared. Clifford and Marcus 1986 critiques salvage ethnography for focusing on disappearing cultures as if they are about to disappear and need to be salvaged in museums, in photographs, and on film. In the academic field of anthropology, the ethnographic stance of objectivity, distance, and observation was later scrutinized by various scholars. As the discipline evolved over the years, ethnographic films were required to satisfy certain academic criteria according to Rouch 2003, Ruby 1975, and Ruby 2000, such as spending long periods in the field, respecting local conditions, and filming preferences of using unintrusive small, hand-held cameras, and having the ethnographer be the camera person. Most Iranian films of ethnographic value are based on “local knowledge” and have some of these requirements but rarely have they been made by filmmakers linked to the field of anthropology, except for Afshar-Naderiand Farhad Varahram. In the 1960s and 1970s in reaction to postmodern concerns regarding the problem of representing the other, some Western filmmakers chose to use reflexivity by including the filmmaker in the filmed process. The re-evaluation of the implications of anthropology and anthropologists’ encounters in the field resulted in a turn toward reflexivity and self-consciousness. Jean Rouch turned the camera on his own tribe, the French in Chronical of a Summer (1960) (Feld 1989, De Groof 2013). As such, autobiographical films have been useful for ethnographic inquiry.

Television and Streaming

BBC Farsi television has a weekly program titled Aparat that focuses on Persian language films and interviews with documentary and feature filmmakers and critics. For example, they have profiled Farshad Fadaian who has made many films of ethnographic interest. IRIB Iranian television’s Shabake-ye Mostanad (Documentary Channel) can also be accessed online and has films of ethnographic interest. Hashure is an online documentary film site that streams recent films made by independent documentary filmmakers.

  • Aparat. 2013–.

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    Not to be confused with the BBC’s show on Iranian films, aparat.com is an Iranian-based video sharing website that operates like YouTube and is a repository of various types of videos. Categories are: cartoons, humor, games, educational. It includes interviews with filmmakers, clips from their films, and some full-length documentary films.

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  • Shabake-ye Mostanad. Tehran: IRIB.

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    This national Iranian television channel is dedicated to documentary films and programs. Programs include mainly IRIB-produced shorts and feature documentaries, nature documentaries, or films about the eight-year Iran-Iraq war or ethnographic films or series such as Parsian, where the host travels around Iran and introduces viewers to local customs of the region. Occasionally, there are social or ethnographic documentaries by respected documentary filmmakers from Iran or from around the world.

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  • Hashure. 2017–.Tehran, Iran: Hashure.

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    A paid membership-based video streaming and rental service for Iranians and Farsi-speaking people worldwide that showcases recent documentary shorts and long format films from independent Iranian documentary filmmakers.

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  • Aparat. London: BBC Persian.

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    This Persian language weekly show with host Hassan Solhjou has covered Farsi-language feature films and documentaries since 2009. He conducts in-depth interviews with filmmakers and film critics and the films are screened for viewers.

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Websites, Blogs, and Social Media Channels

There are a number of websites, blogs, and social media channels that review, promote and showcase documentaries and ethnographic films from Iran. They include Documentary and Experimental Film Center (DEFC), Anthropology and Culture, Filmba, and the site for the Iranian Documentary Filmmakers Association. Some notable filmmakers also have blogs or Telegram channels, Robert Safarian and Pirooz Kalantari. Social media sites that discuss films of ethnographic interest are on Telegram and Instagram. Some of the noteworthy groups that discuss such films are Hameh, Members of Documentary Association, Documentary and Experimental Film Center (DEFC), and Rokhdade-Taze-mostanad.

Telegram Groups

There are many Iranian social media Telegram groups organized around the topic of documentaries, such as The Iranian Documentary Filmmakers Association, which is a forum for the members to discuss their profession, Hameh, a group that provides critical information about documentaries, and Rokhdade-Taze-mostanad, a group that provides information on screenings that pertain to life in Iranian cities. Most of these groups are curated and organized by documentary filmmakers or non-profit organizations.

  • Iranian Documentary Filmmakers Association. Aazae-Anjoman-Mostanad-Sazan. Tehran, Iran: Telegram.

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    The Telegram group for Iranian Documentary Filmmakers Association members has discussions and news on themes relevant to the members of this association.

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  • Kalantari, P. Hameh. Tehran, Iran: Telegram.

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    Curated by documentary filmmaker, Pirooz Kalantari, this is a Telegram group of about five hundred members who post news and reviews and discussions related to documentary film and documenting daily life. A few of these films are of ethnographic interest.

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  • Rokhdade-Taze-mostanad. Tehran, Iran: Telegram.

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    Curated by Pouria Jahanshad and other organizers, this group post news and discussions of their monthly screenings of documentaries in Tehran. They are particularly films focused on city life and architecture from a sociological perspective and offer discussions with filmmakers and critics following the films.

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