Iranian filmmaker Kamran Shirdel poses beside the sign pointing to where some of his films can be seen at the Carnegie Museum of Art Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014, during his first visit to the U.S. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
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Kamran Shirdel's films have been censored, banned and celebrated for documenting hidden parts of Iranian society -- the plight of Tehran's prostitutes, the desperation of female prisoners, and the reality behind false heroes.Early documentaries such as "Women's Quarter" established Shirdel as an uncompromising artist -- and got him fired from a job in the Shah's Ministry of Culture.Educated in Italy under such legendary filmmakers as Roberto Rossellini and Pier Paolo Pasolini, Shirdel worked as an assistant on John Huston's epic film "The Bible".Shirdel was told to make a film about a boy who had supposedly saved lives by preventing a terrible train accident.The film essentially documented that the entire story was a feel-good fraud, designed to present a heroic story even if there had been no real heroism.Shirdel went on to document the Iranian Revolution, and his later films also have unusual themes.Shirdel is considered a major influence on Iran's new cinema and documentary school of filmmaking, and founded the Kish International Documentary Film Festival, the only independent documentary film festival in Iran.
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