Monday, January 11, 2010

BBC article in Persian: Pre-revolutionary Iranian Film Poster Exhibition

See it Here.

The exhibit is in Stockholm Sweden at the Ethnographic Museum under the title "Popular Culture before the Revolution." Most of the posters in the exhibition are from the 1950s and 1960s. The oldest one is for the film Ladder of Progress [nardban-e taraqi] from 1957, by Parviz Khatibi, which featured singing and dancing from the popular entertainer Mahvash. The exhibit will run until 21 February.

Anders Bjorklund, museum director, said it is very important for people who study the East to pay attention to film posters from an anthropological point of view.

A Gypsy's Anger [khashm-e kuli] (1968) starring Fardin and Puri Banai

This poster has a heroic look that looks inspired by the art of Soviet Russia. It is for a film starring the popular actor Fardin about a boy who was estranged from his family, adopted by Gypsies then grows up to fall in love with his cousin, not knowing she is his cousin, according to Iranian film encyclopedist Jamal Omid in his Dictionary of Iranian Films farhang-e filmha-ye sinemai-ye iran.

The exhibit consists of 50 photos and 30 posters from a collection of about 180 posters from Iran collected by Mostafa Ebadi, who lives in Sweden but has accumulated the collection over the last 10 years in trips to Iran. Ebadi is a film fan and before he began collecting Iranian posters he liked to collect foreign posters, especially Italian posters and posters for Westerns.

Mostafa Ebadi

The article has an interview with Ali Hasouri, a researcher on Iranian history and culture who opened the exhibition. Hasouri commented on the design elements needed in film posters as evident in these Iranian ones, on the influence of Indian film in Iranian pre-revolutionary films and on the tendency in these films to portray women negatively.

Regarding the artists who made the posters, Hasouri said they were a small group of poor people who worked up to 14 hours a day for very low wages. He said "most of them worked on the floor in dark isolated rooms with minimum resources. It often occurred that the posters were made in only one day with oil and color in large dimensions. In reality these were creative artists who were obliged to use such methods to feed themselves."

My thanks to Mahtab for sending me the link to the article.

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