Pargol Hashemnia

August 31, 2009

“Cinema Iran”

Filed under: Uncategorized — pargol444 @ 9:27 pm

While being a cinema enthusiast, I always like experiencing going to different cinemas wherever I visit. I find not only movies, but also movie theatres an interesting part of the culture of that specific city or country. Depending on the country, the age of the audience who attend movies, the kind of group they like to attend the movie theatre with (i.e. in couples, the whole family, friends), what type of movies they enjoy to see, even what snacks they like to eat during a movie, and even their purpose of why they go to the cinema differs. Somehow, the observation of a few movie nights can be a mirror to the society of that city or country.

In Iran, going to the cinema is one of people’s favorite activities, especially during the summer nights. It is very interesting to observe how the situation in Iran has shaped not only the actual movies, but also everything else surrounding the activity of going to the cinema.

It always starts in long lineups, waiting to reach the ticket booth to purchase tickets, anxious to get there before it gets sold out. There are usually a fight or two about tickets, either among people, or between the cashier and the customers. While entering the cinema, the typical audience are always present, a young couple who are sitting at the corner of the very last row in a cozy spot, anxiously waiting for the lights to go off, a gang of teenage boys who have only come for the purpose of making fun of the movie, including the lousy performance of the actors, and a retired old couple who enjoy spending their time in a movie theatre sleeping, just to pass the time.

As people take their seats, they can feel the cold breeze of the air conditioner, and the pleasant smell of popcorn fills the air. The place gets crammed with loud people who only allow you to hear what they say. When the film starts, everyone at once decide to be silent.

Most people give a couple of minutes to the movie for it to attract their attention and interest, either with a hilarious scene or with a fine looking actor, but if the film fails to impress them in that short period of time, they decide to either stay and interrupt others with humorous  jokes, or to leave the cinema as a sign of disappointment. On the other hand, if the film appeals to them during the first few minutes, they will stay until the end, give applauses at certain scenes, and stand up during the closing credits as a sign of respect and appreciation.

The whole experience of this night is a reflection of many aspects of the society, which has caved its way to the culture of the people, and has become an indication of the problems that exist in the society. For example, the long line ups are an indication of the fact that not only there are not enough fun activities for people, but also that there are not enough cinemas for a populated country such as Iran. The fights show that people are tired and frustrated, and feel that they have to even fight their way into the cinema, otherwise there is always someone out there who is ready to take their turn, or cheat in someway. The young couple that sits at the most coziest spot represents the young generation who cannot hold hands or kiss freely in the light of the day, and need to hide in a dark hall of a movie theater. The few minutes allowance for the movie to start, and grab the attention of the people is a mirror image of the stress, and frustration of the people, and of the fact that they have no tolerance left to spare for a movie. Therefore, within the first minutes, if the movie fails to impress them with a funny scene, or a good looking actor, then they cannot endure the pain of sitting through a movie they have decided they disliked, even out of respect for the other audience present in the cinema.

Somehow, the event of going to the cinema in Tehran is thrilling. There are so many that can happen in the process, and many interesting people to see, and never know how people will react to a certain movie, or if a fight is going to break out before the ticket booth or in the cinema. It is all a fascinating experience that could even be called an adventure.


1 Comment »

  1. It is amazing how you could turn a simple night out at the movies into a peace of art, you are definitely a writer that i would be honored to read their work.

    Comment by fifihassan — September 29, 2009 @ 1:55 pm | Reply

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