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A type of passion play called ta’zia , depicting events of Shia religious history, developed during the Safavid era (1501-1722) and enjoyed great popularity during Qajar rule (1794-1925). Influenced by increased European contact, playwrights of the 19th and early 20th centuries wrote satires that often called for reform.
Nadir Shah Turcoman military leader Nadir Shah fought the Afghan occupiers of Iran in the 1720s and eventually expelled them. He took the Iranian throne in 1736 and built an empire that included Iraq, Afghanistan, and parts of India. The empire disintegrated after his assassination in 1747.
. During the Pahlavi dynasty (1925-1979), plays were typically patriotic and pro-Western. Since the 1979 revolution, which sought to promote Islamic values, the government has encouraged playwrights but has prohibited plays considered immoral or antireligious.
Safavid Shah in Battle Ismail I conquered all of Iran and established the Safavid dynasty in 1501. This 17th-century mural shows him fighting an Uzbek khan.
Iranian filmmakers produced the first Iranian feature films in the early 1930s and have made more than 1,000 movies since then. Iranian directors often also write the screenplays for their movies. During the 1990s several Iranian films won awards at international film festivals.
Award-winning filmmakers include Bahram Bayzai, Abbas Kiarostami, Majid Majidi, Mohsen Makhmalbaf, and Dariush Mehrjui.
In 1997 Kiarostami's Taste of Cherry won the prestigious Palme d’Or (Golden Palm) award for best film at the Cannes Film Festival, and in 1999 Majidi’s Children of Heaven was nominated for an Academy Award for best foreign film of 1998.
In formal Western, Drama is a relatively new art form in Persia, though various types of dramatic performance, including religious plays and humorous satirical skits, have long been a part of Persian religious and folk tradition. Ta'ziyeh is a form of Persian religious drama that developed in the 16th century and commemorates the suffering of Shi'ite martyrs; it is usually presented in verse and is the only traditional form of Persian drama in which written texts are used.