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The Forgotten: Iranian Cinema, 1962 to 1978

At the Edinburgh International Film Festival this year among the rarest offerings were Iranian films from the earliest days of that country's film industry. Drama The Cow (1969) and short documentary The House is Black (1962) have acquired some fame recently, partially in thanks to the efforts of Mark Cousins in A Story of Film, but other entries have scarcely been seen outside of their native land.

Still Life (1974) seemed to stretch the concept of “slow cinema” to snapping point at times, but some moments broke through the boredom barrier and achieved a meditative stillness or a surprising durational comedy through offscreen sound, deadpan performance (from what I take to be a non-professional cast) and sheer dogged persistence. Director Sohrab Shahid Saless, an important early figure in Iranian film, likes to linger and never moves the camera, and thus has won comparisons with Ozu and Bresson which don’t make much sense

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