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Social distance cinema

Social distance cinema

The new coronavirus pandemic has brought back something unseen in Iran since its 1979 Islamic Revolution: a drive-in movie theater.

Once decried by revolutionaries for allowing too much privacy for unmarried young couples, a drive-in theater now operates from a parking lot right under Tehran’s iconic Milad Tower, showing a film in line with the views of hard-liners.

Workers spray disinfectants on cars that line up each night here after buying tickets online for what is called the “Cinema Machine” in Farsi. They tune into the film’s audio via an FM station on their car radios.With stadiums shut and movie theaters closed, this parking-lot screening is the only movie being shown in a communal setting amid the virus outbreak in Iran, one of the world’s worst. Iran has reported more than 98,600 cases with over 6,200 deaths, though international and local experts acknowledge the country’s toll is likely far higher.

“It was very fascinating, this is the first time this is happening, at least for people my age,” said Behrouz Pournezam, 36, who watched the film along with his wife.

“We are here mostly for the excitement to be honest, the movie itself didn’t matter that much. I didn’t care what movie it is or by whom or which genre.”

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