Art And Culture

Stage Techniques Need Boost

Stage Techniques Need BoostStage Techniques Need Boost

The cosmetics (colloquially known as makeup) industry in cinema needs to be revamped. Makeup artists don’t even have easy access to the most fundamental materials and accessories, and “are required to procure them at market exchange rates which is far from affordable,” film makeup artist Mehriz Shirazi said.  

New kits and facilities are needed and Iran’s head of Cinema Organization Hojatollah Ayoubi has been urged “to give this matter serious attention” so that a broad range of materials would be made available “at official foreign exchange rates,” the artist said in an interview with Cinemapress.

Makeup design is one of the most expensive segments in cinema. In Iran unfortunately it is not given the necessary attention and artists are expected to attend to their “makeup projects with the most rudimentary accessories available,” she added.

Cosmetics and accessories which are used to enhance the appearance of actors are an inevitable and important part of the film, fashion and theatre industry. The word cosmetics derives from the Greek  ‘kosmetike tekhne’, meaning “technique of dress and ornament”, from ‘kosmetikos’, “skilled in ordering or arranging” and from ‘kosmos’, meaning amongst others, ‘order’ and ‘ornament’.


Shirazi further said only two companies in Iran are active in importing makeup accessories, which is insufficient. Also, they do not cover a broad range of accessories needed for professionals. Officials at the culture and Islamic guidance ministry should help overcome such barriers in the industry, the artist stressed.

Although Iran’s film makeup industry has advanced noticeably, acquiring a high status compared with the other countries in the region, it is yet to reach international standards, she noted.

Shirazi is one of the pioneers of the film makeup industry and has worked on several esteemed projects such as ‘The Fifth Reaction’, ‘Asre Roze Dahom,’ ‘Café Setareh’, ‘Dasthay-e Khali’, and Zahr-e Asal, among many more.

More and more upcoming makeup artists have joined the film industry which “is a matter of celebration.” However, the fresh young entrants cannot make a radical change as long as they are not provided with the basics, she added.

  Artist’s Medium

Interestingly, the first archeological evidence of cosmetics comes from the hollowed out tombs of the ancient Egyptian pharaohs. Archaeological evidence of cosmetics dates at least from ancient Egypt and Greece. For a makeup artist the medium of work is the human body, applying makeup and prosthetics for theatrical, television, film, fashion, magazines and other similar productions. Theatrical or stage makeup is used as a method in conjunction with stage lighting to highlight the actors’ faces in order make expressions visible to the audience from moderate distances. This often includes defining the facial features as well as the highlights and lowlights of the facial bones.