Myth About Myths
Shiva Rahbaran interviews Amir Hassan Cheheltan
November 1, 2011
The Iranian writer on the tension between artists and intellectuals, the power of mysticism, and the long-lasting effects of the 1979 revolution.
Tough rulings against Iranian filmmakers and the harsh treatment of female actors are causing despair in the film industry. But it wasn't always like this. Amir Hassan Cheheltan outlines the history of Iranian cinema, which is richer and more complex than the outside world realises
Courts in Iran recently handed down prison sentences to two Iranian filmmakers, Jafar Panahi and Mohammad Rasoulof. The court of appeal found them guilty of acting against national security and creating anti-regime propaganda.
An old photo
In an album full of old photos of Tehran, a picture dating from 1940 depicts a relatively large crowd of people gathered around the entrance to a tea-house beneath a large old-fashioned wireless in a raised alcove in the wall. The posture and gestures of the people in the photo make it clear that they are listening to an important news item being broadcast on the radio. Anyone not familiar with social life in Iran might think they were listening to a live broadcast of a football match. ( continue )
Big cities gradually become like the people who administer them. In general it can be said that governments are similar to the spheres of influence they dominate. But applying such correlations to Tehran and its governors is somewhat paradoxical. The fact is that Tehran is basically a city inhabited by villagers.
Exactly a hundred years ago the newly-established Iranian parliament passed a law regulating administration of the capital, and Tehran officially acquired a mayor. Over the course of this century, forty-eight mayors were entrusted with administration of the capital. One was executed, thirteen ended up in prison, and twenty-three were dismissed because of corruption or incompetence. ( continue )
September 7, 2007
Modern Tehran is at once a city of nostalgia and one without memory, writes Amir Hassan Cheheltan.
In Tehran, grumbling at the state of things is almost a philosophy of life, and for two or three decades we Tehranians have spread our irritation all over the world. But at last we have begun to praise ourselves, constantly asserting the picture of "Iranian life" conveyed by the Western media is far from the truth. Yet we haven't succeeded in forcing a new truth on the world. ( continue )