Not happy, Iran, with a Hollywood movie? Argo make your own.
Iran was not pleased with Ben Affleck's Oscar-winning 'Argo,' so it is planning its own take on the diplomat rescue drama. Political retaliation through moviemaking is an established practice.
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He says he is witnessing the fruits of such control in the Russian students he sees in his own classes today. These students – many of whom were not even born before the fall of the authoritarian Soviet state, still do not know important things about Soviet history.Skip to next paragraph
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“They will tell me ‘we don’t learn these things about Lenin or Stalin,’ ” he says, noting that “films are very powerful and it’s almost impossible to underestimate the role they play in teaching people about their own culture.”
Indeed, during one of the most politicized periods in Hollywood’s history – the 1950’s McCarthy era – American filmmakers battled with each other through film.
Many film buffs consider “High Noon” (1952) – directed by Fred Zinneman, who was eventually blacklisted during the so-called “red scare” fostered by McCarthyism – an important touchstone of American political filmmaking.
Its depiction of a loner against the community was seen as a commentary on the pressure being put on Hollywood to rout out communist influences through the House Un-American Activities Committee. “John Wayne’s version showed them all working together,” points out Friedman, which was considered much more American.
China put the full force of its government propaganda machine behind the 2011 debut of “Beginning of the Great Revival,” a film commemorating the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party, on nearly all the nation’s 6,200 movie screens.
While the Chinese film showed at some 29 American theaters at the time, it is possible that the Iranian counterpunch to “Argo” could jump the borders, points out Seton Hall University film professor Christopher Sharrett.
Marketers might try for "tie-in" sales by linking the film to “Argo,” he notes, but it's doubtful this would sell the film on its own. On the other hand, he adds via e-mail, “controversy sells, so we may get to see it, although not at the multiplex.”