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Cinema Cinema Cinema
Today, the Iranian box office is dominated by commercial Iranian films. Foreign films are not commonly shown in movie theaters as part of a ban on films originating from the West. But heavily censored versions of classic and contemporary Hollywood productions are shown on state television. Uncensored versions are easily available in black markets. Iranian art films are often not screened officially but are viewable via illegal DVDs which are easily available. Nevertheless, some of these acclaimed films were screened in Iran and had box office success. Examples include Rassul Sadr Ameli's "I’m Taraneh, 15", Rakhshan Bani-Etemad's "Under the skin of the City", Bahman Ghobadi's "Marooned in Iraq" and Manijeh Hekmat's "Women's Prison".

The internationally award-winning cinema of Iran is quite different from the domestically oriented films. The latter caters to an entirely different audience, which is largely under the age of 25. This commercial Iranian cinema genre is largely unknown in the West, as the films are targeted at local audiences. There are two categories of this type of film:
•    Films about the victory of the Iranian Revolution of 1979 and the ensuing Iran–Iraq war, filled with strong religious and national motifs.
•    Formulaic films starring popular actors. With 130 Iranian films looking for a screening each year, cinema managers tend to prefer crowd-pleasing comedies, romantic melodramas, and family comedies over the other genres. The Lizard, Outsiders, Aquarium, Ceasefire, M like Mother, Glass Agency, Charlatan and Killing Mad Dogs were among the post-revolutionary films that gained the highest box office records. These films have similarities with Indian popular cinema and with Hollywood (but also have distinct differences). They are chaste, in that the hero and his love interest do not so much kiss but rather walk off into the metaphorical sunset as the end credits roll.

Western cinema is enormously popular among Iran's young people and practically every recent Hollywood film is available on DVD or by download. Conservative controlled state television has also broadcast more Western movies—partly because millions of Iranians have been switching to the use of banned satellite television equipment.

There is no particular love of Arab cinema but Indian cinema is relatively popular among the Iranian masses – but in the last eight years, there has not been a single film from these countries screened in Iran. Only a handful of Hollywood films make it to Iranian movie theaters each year.

Some of the most popular Iranian films over the years have been:
The Cow (1969) Dariush Mehrjui
Tranquility in the Presence of Others (1973) Naser Taghvai
Tangsir (1973) Amir Naderi
The Deer (1974) Masoud Kimiai
Kandu (1975) Fereydun Gole
Sooteh-Delan (1978) Ali Hatami
Captain Khorshid (1987) Naser Taghvai
Bashu, the Little Stranger (1989) Bahram Beizai
Hamoun (1990) Dariush Mehrjui
Once Upon a Time, Cinema (1992) Mohsen Makhmalbaf
About Elly (2009) Asghar Farhadi
A Separation (2011) Asghar Farhadi

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