Weekly insights into our crazy world.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013



Didja watch last night's ACADEMY AWARDS ceremony?  We always do here at the DUNER BLOG.  Didja see how they awarded the top prize for BEST PICTURE?  It was announced via satellite link from the White House.  First Lady Michelle Obama ripped open that goofy, over sized, golden envelope.  She smiled and announced: "And the winner for BEST PICTURE is ARGO!"  Back in California, the audience erupted into applause as Director and Producer BEN AFFLECK hoisted the golden statue high in the air.  Even GEORGE CLOONEY was involved!

However, in Tehran, no one was celebrating.  The movie about the Embassy Occupation is not popular there.  Iranian state media called the film an "unflattering portrayal of the Islamic Revolution."  The culture minister, Mohammad Hosseini, dismissed the picture as "an advertisement for the C.I.A." Likewise, Tehran City Council Member Masoomeh Ebtekar...who was a young college student back in 1979 and took part in the Embassy occupation...claims Hollywood terribly exaggerated the violence that happened that day.  The final-climax-airport-chase-scene never occurred in real life either.   

Let's face it: All over the Islamic Republic of Iran today, people are talking about the movie ARGO.  You're asking yourself: Do average Iranians really watch Ben Affleck flicks? Here the story: State ministries control which films local theatres are allowed to screen.  They carefully insure what the general public officially sees.  Not surprisingly, ARGO...like all other Western films...was formally banned.  However, most Iranians have seen the film, thanks to the thriving Bootleg DVD market.  The current going price for pirated movies is 30,000 Rials or US $1.   According to MSN.com, ARGO is the current bestseller on the streets of Tehran.

Reaction from the average folk who illegally bought the movie and watched it is impossible to gauge.  But we did find a quote from Shieda, a Tehran University student who wouldn't give her last name.  She found it fascinating to see "what the outside world thinks" about the 444-day hostage crisis.  See, Iranian History books state that only students took place in the operation...not the militias shown in the movie.  Since over half of Iran's population was born after the 1979 Revolution, it must be confusing.  Who to should they believe?  Both Hollywood and the Ayatollahs have major credibility issues!

Believe it or not, we here at the DUNER BLOG side with Islamic clerics. Specifically, we question the Academy's motivation.  Sometimes, Hollywood gets too big for its britches.  People like George Clooney often use our cherished art form as a vehicle for their personal political messages.  Which is fine...if your film is a documentary. This way, you can back up all claims with factual evidence.  However, when Hollywood releases movies that are "inspired by true events" they go down a slippery slope.  Their message becomes clouded by embellishment, re-fabrication and...worse of all..."scenes enhanced for dramatic purposes."  Enough, already!

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