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Everyone has heard of the 1979 Iranian Revolution, but few Westerners have seen much of the Iranian cinema and its impact on the country over the past sixty years. Director Nader Takmil Homayoun (right) decided to breathe life into the rich history of his native land's film industry with Iran: Une Révolution cinématographique, which made its premiere tonight to a sold out crowd at the Al Green theatre.

Iranian cinema has largely been off the North American radar, perpetuating an image in the West that Iranians are people of prayer and little else. The film looks at how Iran's cinema and filmmakers have been impacted by its turbulent politics and vice-versa, by speaking to its prominent directors and juxtaposing clips from these films with stock footage of real-life events that occured in the eras of each film's release.

In the Q & A after the film, Homayoun had plenty of questions to answer from a very vocal and appreciative crowd. One audience member asked about the prevalence in Iranian cinema of "average" people as actors and filmmakers. Homayoun said this remains because the Iranian films try their best to represent reality. His translator tried her best to relay the term "un-actor", which describes these so-called average people who make and star in Iranian films. In Iran today, he said, many people can be seen using small digital cameras and getting involved in the industry.

In the end, Homayoun mentioned that though Iran has been considered a land of poetry, it is now, after many years of censorship and even a period of theatre burning, it is also considered a land of cinema. The questions and discussion continued long after, spilling into the hallway and then out in the rain on Bloor st.

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