Monday, 4 January 2010

The struggle in Iran

In the 1990s and early 2000s, Iranian cinema was perhaps the most interesting and inspiring of all world cinemas. But these last years I haven't seen as many films from Iran as before. That could be because of poor or middlebrow distributors are importing fewer films to where I am, or it could be that the climate for filmmakers have worsen since Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was elected president in 2005. I've been wondering about that, but haven't done enough research into the matter.

Now though, after last year's (probably) fraudulent election and the brutality shown by the regime afterwards, the political climate for everybody, including filmmakers, have deteriorated very much. An article in today's New York Times has the latest update.

It's a sad and upsetting story, the story of Iran. The country has so many riches, it should be one of the great nations today, not least culturally, but instead they (the leaders) waste it all on bad politics and bad economics. Things were looking up when Mohammad Khatami was elected president in 1997 (and again in 2001), but he might not have been strong enough to make much of a difference.

The great Persian poet and scholar Omar Khayyam once wrote something like:

The end of the story is cruel and sad
From dust we came, and gone with winds cool

Let's hope there isn't a cruel and sad end to the story. And remember, as Khayyam also wrote:

Life is a temporal gift that we borrow
Whether dead for ages, or leave tomorrow

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