April 16, 2013 By K Shabin Muhammed

A Political Myth-Making

Ben-Affleck-Argo-Oscar_510x317Indeed, the popular culture of Hollywood or the American global culture forces us to see people helpless. Only the US can help and protect them from any ‘monstrosities’. After the 9/11 attack they succeeded to make us believe that they are the global police all set for an agenda with the support of media.

Ben Affleck’s Argo was nominated for the best picture in 85th Academy Award of Oscar in 2012. The movie portrays the hostage crisis in Iran in 1979 during the Islamic revolution lead by Ayatulla Khomeini. The movie focused on the six American diplomats who escaped from the US Embassy and found refuge in the Canadian Embassy in Iran. But the movie swerves from the real history. Iranian revolutionaries took more than 60 American hostages. The immediate cause of this action was President Jimmy Carter’s decision to allow Iran’s deposed Shah, a pro-Western autocrat who had been expelled from his country some months before, to come to the United States for cancer treatment.

However, the hostage-taking was about more than the Shah’s medical care: it was a dramatic way for the student revolutionaries to declare a break with Iran’s past and an end to American interference in its affairs. The students set their hostages free on January 21, 1981, 444 days after the crisis began and just hours after President Ronald Reagan delivered his inaugural address. Many historians believe that hostage crisis cost Jimmy Carter a second term as president. Yet, Argo beyond obvious historical facts, depicts only the problems of Iranian culture and tradition and is against the concept of Islamic state. The movie dishes out certain Iranian stereotypes.

• A violent mass
• Women can easily handle AK 47.
• They stand against freedom of speech and expression.
• Old agers in Iran are ready to make clashes with outsiders.
• The most brilliant and intelligent and global police is CIA and any state can seek their help.
• However some these stupid Iranians love American product like KFC chicken.

The questions why did the Oscar Academy select this particular movie as the best picture with the Zero Dark Thirty only coming near? There are other movies which skirt obvious political questions but satisfy our aesthetics. Ang Lee’s ‘Life of Pie’ and ‘The Words’ by Brian Klugman, Lee Sternthal are the best two examples in 2012. For ‘Life of Pie’ Ang lee was only selected for the Best Director. But the movie deserves more. The audience already selected this movie as one of the best in 2012. It portraits man, tiger, zoo, sea, loneliness, the boat as the metaphors of life. The Academy selected it in the technical and visual effects category as well.

‘The Words’ depicts the power of words and the power of love. Every human being longs for love. In this movie ‘The Word’ is the metaphor of love, life, status, and spiritual necessity. These two movies represent the Life of hope and life of love.
The question remains as to why Argo and Zero Dark Thirty satisfied the academy much more than these films? Have we not had enough of the toxic politics generalized post 9/11? The question, I think, is absurd? Cinema is not just a media to entertain; it’s a tool for political myth making, isn’t it?

Posted in: Movies