Iran: Editing the West out of Western films

After failing to keep films away from culture-loving Iranians, the Islamic Republic is trying some new, if clunky, techniques for editing the West out of Western entertainment, reported Max Fisher, associate editor of The Atlantic, on 8 August 2012.

An American film in its original form (above) and modified by Iranian censors (underneath). Courtesy

The Iranian film fan site put together a series of side-by-side comparisons showing the before-and-after of this new censorship technique.

“Some of the efforts here are almost impressively subtle, but others, well, let’s just say there seem to be a lot of clunky vases in the censors’ world,” wrote Max Fisher.

Two excerpts from Max Fisher’s article in The Atlantic:

“The censored images are another indication of how seriously Iran takes the “infiltration” of foreign culture; the regime there has variously banned coffee shops, pop music, and certain hair styles in their quest to isolate Iranians from the outside world. But this isn’t Afghanistan or Saddam’s Iraq or North Korea, and there’s really only so much the Islamic Republic can do to separate its long-worldly people from arts, culture, and entertainment. Little compromises like these silly seeming censorship techniques are a reminder of how difficult, and maybe how futile, that quest really is.”

“In late 1978, a small group of radical Islamists locked the doors of the Cinema Rex movie house in the city of Abadan and set it on fire, killing 400. After the revolution the following year, 180 more movie theaters (though now empty) were burned to the ground. In his first year in power, Khomeini banned 513 foreign films. But people really like movies, and Iranians are no exception.”


The Atlantic – 8 August 2012:
Cropped Modesty: Iran’s High-Tech Tricks for Censoring American Movies

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