Covering Cinema From All Across The African Diaspora

A Short History Of Iraqi Cinema

Yes, despite the ongoing US-led invasion of the country, which has given birth to widespread infrastructural damage, there is (and has always been) filmmaking in Iraq.

FROM: Film In Focus.

Unlike its neighbor Iran, whose recent output has put it on the cinematic map, Iraq has never been known for its films. Yet the development of film and film-going in Iraq reflects the drastic historical shifts that Iraq has experienced in the 20th century.

While the first film projected in Iraq was in 1909, it wasn't until the 20s that film became a cultural activity. The first cinemas, like the famous al-Zawra cinema on Baghdad's bustling thoroughfare al-Rashid, played mostly American silent films for British citizens. When the Ottoman Empire was divided up after World War I, the newly formed League of Nation mandated Britain to oversee the territory of Iraq. And for the citizens who administrated this dictate, and the soldiers who fought the then Iraqi insurgency, a series of entertainments were brought in. While a monarchy was reinstated with King Faisal I, the area remained under British rule until the Mandate was lifted in 1932.

The rest of the story HERE.


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