I have been writing reviews on movies when VHS cassette was the only way to have an archive of cinema and the only sources of information about a movie or a director were books and magazines. There was no IMDB or the possibility of online search about anything related to the movie industry and everything should be memorized to be used in time. And in my country – Iran – limitations were much more than other parts of the world.
But with all limitations, that era sounds golden now for many of us who were getting mesmerized by watching a movie in a film center and discussing it for many hours. My first review that was published in a magazine – Film & Cinema Magazine- was on “The Silence of the Lambs” by Jonathan Demme. It opened a door for me to write as a paid writer and see the cinema and writing about it more than a hobby.
I continued writing reviews and could find a good position in the best movie magazine in Iran named Film. It is still the most professional magazine focused on the movie industry.
I started to collaborate with the Iranian Youth Cinema Organization as a lecturer in Rasht Film Center. We were screening the best movies of history and after every show, I was giving a short review of the movie, and then there was a group discussion.
We had around 250 members on our best days and many famous directors were joining us for special screening and interview. Abbas Kiarostami was the most internationally well-known director who participated in some of our programs. Among other Iranian famous directors, I can name Kianoush Ayyari, Khosro Masoomi, Mohsen Makhmalbaf, and Fahad Mehranfar.
12 years passed from my last activities as a writer or critic in Iran and the lockdown caused by pandemic gave me a chance to start writing reviews again. What you see on this website is what I have done during the lockdown. Actually, it may be a response to one of my questions every week: What to watch?
When you search the phrase “What to watch on Netflix?” for example, surely you will find a lot of articles and news that can help you in choosing a good movie or series to watch. But I was looking for more personal reviews like what late Roger Ebert was writing in his weblog.
It was my main motivation to launch Netflix Best Shows and I tried to give a simple and straightforward review on any movie or series. I think this approach not only helps some viewers to choose better but also gives them the reasons for their choices.
I also hope that it creates the connections and discussions I have been missing for a long time. I still believe that understanding an artistic creation is like a discovery of the meaning of a poem or the motif of a symphony. A good review never stops at the level of showing the mistakes in a movie. It may mention them but it should always try to discover the hidden layers of the creation. And in the end, I think sharing our impressions with others will improve our discoveries.