ABSTRACT

Underground cinema is a recent and politically relevant movement that is quickly gaining momentum in Iran. This chapter describes the phenomenon and suggests some reasons for its genesis and importance, reading it against the backdrop on American Underground Cinema of the 1960s and 1970s. Independent filmmakers in Iran have always been subject to censorship and intense pressure from the authorities. According to the Iranian authorities, Iranian underground filmmakers, writers, and musicians aim only to highlight the social and political instabilities in Iran and to present the dark side of the country to westerners and the enemies of the state. Lila Ghobady, a young Iranian underground filmmaker who left Iran in 2002, believes that Iranian underground cinema is the "voice of the oppressed" people. Despite harsh conditions in Iran, underground cinema has not only persevered but also thrived artistically and politically thanks to new technology and filmmakers' creativity.