Hello Cinema is an English-language website dedicated to Iranian cinema published by Tina Hassannia and Amir Soltani. With regular news items, analytical pieces and reviews of films both new and old, Hello Cinema aims to serve as an all-encompassing hub for cinephiles interested in Iranian cinema. The Hello Cinema Podcast is the website’s centerpiece feature and will be broadcast on the last Thursday of every month.
While Iranian cinema has gathered an impressive following since the international festival circuit welcomed a group of arthouse directors in the early 1990s, there remains a dearth of discourse about Iranian cinema in Western film criticism. Most in-depth explorations on the subject are limited to the academic world. Mainstream film critics and audiences have been largely unaware of both the history of Iranian cinema—particularly its pre-Islamic revolution output—and what is called sinema-ye badane (the main body cinema), which constitutes a significant portion of the country’s commercial output. Like most other national cinemas, many films made in Iran never make it to European and North American festivals, and are subsequently categorically ignored by Western film critics.
The number of Iranian directors whose films have been examined in the West barely exceeds the number of fingers on one hand. The masterpieces of directors including Bahram Beizaei, Bahman Farmaanara, Rakhshan Bani-Etemad, Reza Mirkarimi, Ebrahim Hatamikia and Kamal Tabrizi seem eternally doomed to national geographic boundaries. The heart of the problem lies in the inaccessibility of these films to foreign audiences, but they can only be seen if distributors discover their potential. Our aim is to pull these films out of obscurity and persuade you to seek them out. While our work will be dynamic and cover a wide array of films from all genres and eras, our main mission is to build on the foundation of already available academic texts on Iranian cinema and introduce this national cinema to a broader audience in an accessible, online-friendly medium.