Oscar winner Ben Affleck’s passion project, “Argo” may have won the Academy Award for Best Motion Picture in the United, States, but the movie based on the escape of six American Hostages from the United States Embassy in Tehran is not being received well by everyone. “Iranian officials on Monday dismissed the Oscar-winning film “Argo” as pro-CIA, anti-Iran propaganda, but some young, moderate Iranians welcomed it as a fresh view of recent history, according to a Feb. 25 Christian Science Monitor report.
Though the movie has not been screened in any Iranian theaters, many Iranian’s have bought “bootleg DVD” versions for under $1 in downtown Tehran.
According to UPI.com, Iran is planning a response to the movie. Film director Ataollah Salmanian told the Persian news agency MNA in January that he would use eyewitness accounts to write the screenplay for a movie. “The movie entitled The General Staff is about the 20 American hostages who were delivered to the United States by the revolutionaries,” Salmanian said. “This film, which will be a big production, should be an appropriate response to the ahistoric film Argo.”
Affleck, for his part, is reveling in all the attention, hostile or otherwise, calling Iran’s response to the movie, “a tremendous badge of honor,” according to the Hollywood Reporter. “You have to understand, this is a sort of Stalinist regime in this place that is extremely repressive,” Affleck told the Hollywood Reporter. “It’s governing a nation full of millions of wonderful, amazing people, so to be part of this movie Argo that seems to have kids up and paying attention–so this Stalinist regime feels the need to sort of push back somehow, I think is a tremendous badge of honor.”
Iranian Culture Minister Mohammad Hosseini criticized the film, reports the Christian Science Monitor. “The movie is an anti-Iran film. It is not a valuable film from the artistic point of view. It won the prize by resorting to extended advertisement and investment,” he said, adding that Hollywood has “distorted history” as part of what Iranian officials call a “soft war.” Iran’s state TV called the movie “an advertisement for the CIA.”
Another sticking point for Iran is the fact that First Lady Michelle Obama announced the winning movie, with some believing it was “politically motivated.” Michelle Obama’s rep said the First Lady was contacted by the Academy because of her love of movies, according to Access Hollywood. She made the announcement via satellite from the White House, in a stunning Naeem Khan metallic gown and earrings by Sutra Silver at Fragments.
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