Joe Breen, The Ayatollah Khomeni, and Film Censorship
Quarterly Review of Film and Video
For admirers of the emerging Iranian film industry under the Shah, the Islamic Revolution of February, 1979 was obviously a cause for concern if not outright pessimism. Indeed, the May issue of Variety raised the question that many were no doubt asking, namely “Whether a budding film industry with several talented filmmakers already noted, will survive the rigors of an ancient feudal and religious law that demands in substance, the closing of cinema in the first place.”
There was certainly ample evidence to justify this concern. During the last years of the Shah's reign, Islamic fundamentalists directed much of their wrath against movie theaters as being among the primary corrupting influences in society. By the time the Shah went into exile, 180 of the country's 436 theaters had been burnt down, and hundreds of moviegoers had died. The most devastating of these occurred in 1978 at Abadan's Rex Theater, when 400 spectators perished in the flames. This combined with the flight from Iran of many actors, producers, and directors seemed to mark the permanent demise of the encouraging efforts to build a vibrant national film industry.
Weinberger, Stephen. "Joe Breen, The Ayatollah Khomeni, and Film Censorship." Quarterly Review of Film and Video 26, no. 3 (2009), 206-215.