Synopsis by Mark Deming
Since the revolution of 1979, popular music in Iran has been at the mercy of the nation's Ministry of Cultural and Islamic Guidance, who have displayed little tolerance for Western influences, political or social commentary of any kind, or signs of rebellion or non-conformity. However, today nearly half of Iran's population is under 30, and the nation's young people are deeply interested in contemporary sounds even if their leaders aren't happy about it. A growing number of young Iranian musicians are taking the influence of Western rock, pop, and hip-hop music and marrying them to traditional Persian instrumentation and creating new and exciting sounds they distribute through the Internet or via underground networks and perform at secret concerts. The documentary Sounds of Silence offers an insider's look at the new wave of Iranian music, featuring some of the scene's most interesting artists and interviews with journalists who explain the restrictions the rockers must work within to create their music. Sounds of Silence received its world premiere at the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival.