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Making films in Iran, I came to understand why the country's cinema is so remarkable. It has risen above the restrictions of both Islam and Hollywood

By Mark Cousins   May 2005

Why are Iranians such good filmmakers? There is a season of Iranian films coming up on British television in early May, the fullest ever retrospective of director Abbas Kiarostami at the National Film Theatre throughout the month, and an installation of his work at the V&A until June. Tehran-based directors have won, per capita, more movie prizes than those of any other country in recent years. In 1995, their feature films made 755 appearances at international film festivals. Britain, which has the same population, didn’t manage half that. Some of the best women filmmakers in the world today are Iranian.…

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