Irans love affair with cinema started at the dawn of the last century. Mirza Ebrahim Khan Akkas-Bashi recorded a royal visit to Belgium in 1900, and in the same year the countrys first public cinema opened in Tabriz. By 1904 a cinema had opened in Tehran, and it has been the most popular form of artistic entertainment ever since. Avanes Oganians Abi & Rabi (1930) was the first silent Iranian movie, and The Lor Girl (1933), directed by Ardashir Irani in India, the first talkie. Producer Abdolhossein Sepanta s love for Iranian history and literature helped him to craft films that appealed to Iranian tastes. Esmail Kushans 1984 The Tempest of life was the first film to be made in Iran and since then, the homegrown industry has not looked back.
It was not until the 1960s, however, that the first signs of a very distinctive Iranian cinematic language emerged. Poet Forogh Farrokhzads 1962 film of life in a leper colony, The House is Black, anticipated much of what was to come. Darius Mehrjui s 1969 film Gaav, based on a story by modern playwright Gholamhossien Sa edi, was the periods most important landmark film. Sohrab Shahid Sales early 1970 films, such as Still Life , introduced a new way of looking at reality; the influence of his still camera and simple stories is seen in Abbas Kiarostamis work.