I wrote a lits for Keyframe about 7 (+11) best unsung Iranian films since 2000. I compiled the list since I think Iranian cinema has more than just a few familiar faces and films you will easily find in big film festivals, and also because I think Iranian films you usually see in film festivals won’t depict whole scope of Iranian cinema. I hope this list can tease you to go and look for other Iranian films that you may have missed in the past 15, 16 years.
Though now known around the world for the films of Abbas Kiarostami, Asghar Farhadi and Jafar Panahi, Iranian cinema is not limited only to these few names. Reportedly ninety movies are made in Iran every year, and if you look closely at the top film festivals—Cannes, Venice, Berlin and many more—you surely will see an Iranian presence.
When generalized, the cinema of Iran is often described as poetic, with great interest in social problems and family life. Non-Iranian audiences tend therefore to expect “realistic” films—delicate chronicles of urban life, marital crises and the monotony of loneliness. Every now and then, however, a few Iranian films will try to deviate from these standard expectations. Such movies are in stark contrast with “Film Farsi” (the major thread of filmmaking in Iran, which is a blend of cheap Hindi films and Turkish TV series), but they also differ from the Iranian movies you usually see in film festivals.
In the list below, you won’t see any films by Kiarostami, Farhadi or Panahi. Those directors are famous enough now that any film buff can find and watch their films. To go further, please allow this list to introduce the most interesting recent Iranian films that you may not yet have heard about.
You can read the list here in Keyframe.