JOSEF POLLEROSS / Old Cinemas in Iran

old cinemas polleross.jpg

April 4 - May 18, 2019

The first cinema in Iran opened 1904 in Tehran. With the foundation of the National Film Society in 1949, the foun- dation stone was laid for alternative cinema. The interna- tional success of Iranian film began with Kiarostami’s film A Taste of Cherry, which was awarded the Palme d‘Or in Cannes in 1997. At the end of the Shah era in 1979, 524 cinemas were in operation, over a hundred of which were burned to the ground during the Revolution, the ones that survived being closed down. Cinemas reopened only after the Iran-Iraq war began, with the intention of mobilizing the public for the war. About half of the cinemas that date back to the era before the revolution are still in operation today.

Austrian photographer Josef Polleross has been documenting old movie theatres in Iran since 2015. He has travelled the country several times, photographed many of the cinemas that have survived and talked to their operators. A piece of contemporary history he tries to conserve.


Installation views

Photos: Jakob Lindner


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