During the time I was living in France, I was chocked by the number of people who knew about Iran via Iranian movies. They knew the well-known directors and the story of successful movies. Amongst French who I met and established a tie with, almost all of them had collated background information of Iran through movies like “about Elli”, “The seller” etc. Iranian directors
I was surprised because although elicit Iranians can read and write well in English, the cultural productions such as Iranians movies, poems, stories etc are made and written in Persian and they are rarely translated in other languages. Consequently, most of people in other countries do swallow monstrous barefaced lies which are told in films about Iran. Or they are dismayed and saddened to learn tragic news in Iran.
Anyway, those movies had made French citizens to get interested in Iranian culture and society and then visit this country. Believe it or not, they could never believe the media in their own country. They just laugh at bad news on Iran and keep trusting what Iranians, themselves say and confirm.
How Iranians thought about other cultures via movies
Since that day, I got that how films could discard the positive image of a country. Or scrap cunning plans of international news agencies. In fact, gathering information on a country via movies was the exact path I had pursued before. Iranian directors
I was admiring France and the United States for several successive years. Mostly because Iran is not an Immigration country like France or England. I mean in countries like France or England we are able to meet people from different cultures and countries. In doing so, We could gain first hand information, not indirect quotations which we can’t never rely on their authenticity. As a result, before the easy and quick access to the internet, the main source of knowing about other societies, cultures and countries was movies. So we imagined that Italy is the home of dangerous mafias, killing people by gun in the streets of the united states is a part of everyday routines of Americans and they are used to it, in France we do nothing but drinking coffees and talking about art or all Africans are slaves in Africa or other countries.
Struggling to change the negative image of Iran
Since 20 years ago, the average of Iranians who have left the country to study, live or work has largely increased. Thus, almost all Iranians have changed their mind about other cultures; especially after having easy and quick access to the internet. Right now we neither trust news on Iranian TV, nor American news agencies. We simply check out twitter account of politicians, activists or victims of every single event that is scoop on the news. If there is no Instagram, Facebook or twitter account, we try to read news, analyses and reports on an issue. And then decide whom we need to trust. Though it doesn’t mean we are able to understand the real and true story. But what’s more, we just don’t swallow good or bad news and this is what matters. Iranian directors
While Iranian directors, writers and artists are struggling to change the negative image of Iran, Hollywood movie makers keep working on controversial aspects of Iran and make everyone around the world believe that Iranians are uncivilized poor savages who do nothing but killing each others.
Things have been changed
However, things have changed in recent years. Not all foreigners believe lies about Iran like 20 years ago thank to several reasons. First of all because of Iranian directors who succeed in making movies about interesting aspects of Iran. Then because of Iran’s embassies in Europe where there are a vast number of cultural activities including screening interesting films. And above all, social behavior of Iranians who live abroad as immigrants, workers or students has proven that Iranians are not as aggressive, untreatable, violent or brutal as some movies try to infuse.
From now on, we are going to introduce movies about Iran either they are produced by Iranians or not in order to find false information as well as face up to realities of today Iran’s society, family etc.