As expected, Iranian press is getting nervous with all the attention ‘Argo’ is getting.
Quoting from Mehrnews:
In the era that politicization in Hollywood was very strong, and every awards and festivals in Hollywood had paid much attention to the anti-Iranian movie ‘Argo’, the 85 Academy Awards ceremony, unveiled the bare politicization in Hollywood.
In early February, when ‘Argo’ took home three BAFTA prizes, including those for best movie and for best director, Mehrnews defended:
The movie “Argo” which shows a distorted version of Islamic Revolution, has won three prizes from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) last night.
The selection shows that the Political approach rather than artistic standards was criteria for choosing the best film more than any time before.
On February 23, same site, there was the statement that the movie was not made to last due to its fixation on short-term policy goals:
In a news conference about the anti-Iran movie Argo and Oscar nominations, Behrouz Afkhami told reporters that “we need to consider this first; whether a film such as Argo or all the movies that are made with a short-term goal of propaganda, can leave a deep and lasting impression on the viewers’ minds or not and whether Iranian film makers should react to it.
In answer to a question whether awarding Oscar to Argo is really a blow to the Academy, the director, said “the fact that it’s been nominated for Oscars is blow to its prestige.”
So it comes with no surprise that, on February 25, Mehrnews accused Hollywood insiders of ‘sacrificing quality and artistic cinema to politic goals and slogans’.
Moreover, and as expected, the singular (sort of) presence of Michelle Obama was taken to the heart by such critics, interpreting it as the ultimate sign of what they believe to be the political manipulation of the cerimony:
Interestingly, in the current Academy Awards ceremony, presence of Michelle Obama was even surprising for the audience. One of official Hollywood reporters for the Oscar ceremony considered the attendance by President Obama’s wife to give the award for the best picture as ‘unexpected’ and very ‘surprising’.
This ‘unexpected’ and ‘surprising’ move by the US media and Hollywood activists showed the bare Hollywood scandals and politicization of the 85th Academy Awards ceremony.
The question here is that, in fact, even after cutting on the obvious layers of the iranian propaganda, ‘Argo’ presents a very one-sided view of the much more complex ‘Iranian Revolution’. It absolutely ignores the context, emphasizing the random violence against US officials over the causes, the goals or the ambitions behind the revolt of those Iranian people.
More than 30 years before the ‘Arab Spring’, the Iranian Revolution was, in a very similar way, a movement of civil resistance against the authoritarian rule and social injustice. Despite the well known shortcomings (in short, oppression was not overcome), there’s an urgent need today to understand the mechanisms through which the Islamic Republic of Iran developed in the post-revolutionary period.
The critically acclaimed movie ‘Persepolis’ also drew great controversy in 2007, generating similar comments from Iranian press and officials. However, the movie took a very different approach from ‘Argo’, showing how the revolution affected the aspirations and the everyday life of an Iranian middle-class family, from an autobiographical perspective.
‘Argo’, it is clear today, is contributing to reinforce the clivage between the West and the ‘islamist’ other. In doing so, the picture openly transmits a derogatory image of the people of Iran, subjects of irrational violence against westerners and objects of manipulation by the CIA officials, which only serves the purposes of the Ahmadinejad’s rule.
Further politization by both sides (remember Michelle Obama) will only divert the public sentiments from more important things everywhere.