Iran’s cinema industry has gone through a renaissance in the past few years, with movies like ‘A Separation,’ the Salesman and others reaching international acclaim, however before they reach places like Cannes Film Festival they are often at Tehran’s plethora of cinemas.
Living in Tehran now will give you a few tips on some of the best movie theatres operating in the Iranian capital.
Pardis Gholhak Cinema—which we often highlight has several great movies on every month, and is Tehran’s dedicated foreign language cinema. Located just off Shariati Street on Yakhchal Street, the cinema has a broad selection of movies on offer. Although the set-up of the cinema is such that you have to be a member to enter and watch movies, so give yourself a half an hour extra if you have not been there before.
Mellat Gallery and Cineplex
The architecturally stunning Mellat Gallery and Cineplex is a fantastic piece of modern work, design by Catherine Spirindonoff and Reza Daneshmir in 2008, the cinema which mostly shows local movies has four different cinema halls.
Moreover, the complex comes with restaurants cafes and other fantastic places stuffed away on the basement levels. You can find the location of Mellat at the top of the park with the same name on Valiasr Street.
Charsou Cinema and Mall
It’s an odd combination, mobile phones and cinema, but that’s what you get with Charsou Cinema Complex in central Tehran. The modern building, clad with white metal sheets is instantly noticeable if you’re on the Hafez Street Bridge and also from Enqelab Street. Charsou Cinema which opened in 2014, offers the latest cinema technology and is located on the seventh floor of the shopping centre. In total 900 people can comfortably fit in the five theatres which can support 3D movie projections. On the fifth floor of the complex, there is an ideal food court so you can stock up on pizza or even Mexican food beforehand.
Cinema Iran, Cinema Soroush and Cinema Sahra
We’re cheating a bit here, but why not. Tehran has been home to several cinemas since the 1950s, and these three theatres on the southern stretch of Shariati Street, below Bahar Shiraz Street, offer an excellent choice of local movies for a handful of Toman.
Starting at the top of this stretch of Shariati (Jaddeh Ghadim) all three cinemas offer several cinema halls to catch local movies (during the Fajr International Film Festival they also show foreign films).
Cinema Iran (formally Cinema Pacific) is now a cultural centre which has several theatres inside, which was recently renovated in the past decade. Moreover, there is a wonderful cafe on the ground floor. If you’re hungry there are several fast food joints at the main door to top you up. This cinema also recently took over the adjacent land and now has parking for 100 cars on a busy night.
Cinema Soroush (formerly Moulin Rouge before ‘79) had a complete overhaul in 2015 and is now fitted with the latest cinematography equipment and restaurant in the main foyer.
Kourosh Complex & Cineplex
Kourosh Cineplex is another new development, built on the upper floors of the Koroush Mall in west Tehran. Each theatre hall is named after the old cinemas which used to show movies on Lalehzar Street, with names like Metropol, Crystal and Rex harking back to days gone by. The complex is also another great location to watch movies in foreign languages with Persian subtitles. Also if you’ve got kids, there is a fantastic creche where you can leave them for an hour under supervision.
Fajr Film Festival
You may have spotted the image of Phoenix rising from the ashes across Tehran’s many cinemas in recent days and that is because the 36th Fajr Film Festival is on, showing the best of the local cinema from the past couple of years.
But, unless you speak Persian you may as well wait until April when the Fajr International Film Festival is on as it will be showcasing some of the best arthouse movies from the past year across Tehran in foreign languages.