Justice for Iran

In solidarity with the beautiful and courageous people of Iran.

You can find me at Kateoplis.

Argo, F--k Yourself

Now that Ben Affleck’s Iran hostage drama Argo has garnered seven Oscar nominations to add to its mantle, upon which already sit $110 million in domestic box office, near unanimous acclaim from critics, and even a whisper campaign for Affleck to run for John Kerry’s soon-to-be vacated Senate seat, it needs to be said: Argo is a fraud.

Sure, Argo’s an easily consumable mashup of well-worn genres (exotic adventurer, political caper flick, derelict daddy redemption movie, Hollywood insider satire) whose geopolitical themes make it feel smart and important. One could even say that it’s good at what it does: giving these old Hollywood formulas a fresh coat of vintage 1970s paint (color: avocado). But this tactic is what makes the film not merely overrated, but reprehensible. Its modest achievements point to larger failures both in the film and in Hollywood’s ability to regard the world honestly.

Perhaps my disgust wouldn’t be as intense if it weren’t for the potentially great film suggested by Argo’s opening sequence: a history of pre-revolutionary Iran told through eye-catching storyboards. The sequence gives a compelling (if sensationalized) account of how the CIA’s meddling with Iran’s government over three decades led to a corrupt and oppressive regime, eventually inciting the 1979 revolution. The sequence even humanizes the Iranian people as victims of these abuses. This opening may very well be the reason why critics have given the film credit for being insightful and progressive—because nothing that follows comes close, and the rest of the movie actually undoes what this opening achieves.

Instead of keeping its eye on the big picture of revolutionary Iran, the film settles into a retrograde “white Americans in peril” storyline. It recasts those oppressed Iranians as a raging, zombie-like horde, the same dark-faced demons from countless other movies— still a surefire dramatic device for instilling fear in an American audience. After the opening makes a big fuss about how Iranians were victimized for decades, the film marginalizes them from their own story, shunting them into the role of villains. Yet this irony is overshadowed by a larger one: The heroes of the film, the CIA, helped create this mess in the first place. And their triumph is executed through one more ruse at the expense of the ever-dupable Iranians to cap off three decades of deception and manipulation.

(Source: azspot)

  1. blazingautomatics reblogged this from seaofgreen and added:
    I couldn’t agree more. This is exactly what I’ve been trying to articulate.
  2. thejessicats reblogged this from unvitation
  3. unvitation reblogged this from azspot and added:
    How many Hollywood cobs does Ben Affleck have to slob in order to receive another 7 Oscar nominations for his second...
  4. lauraloveslions reblogged this from seaofgreen
  5. jershadi reblogged this from seaofgreen and added:
    Read the rest here.
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