'Argo' no winner, Iran government says
Not everybody loves "Argo."
"Argo," the movie that won this year's Oscar for the best picture, may have won the hearts of moviegoers across the country, but it's facing a tough sell to the government of Iran.
"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," said Iranian Culture Minister Mohammad Hosseini.
That sounds an awful lot like a thumbs down from the Iranian leadership. Perhaps that explains why the movie has not been shown in Iranian theaters. According to news reports, however, bootleg DVDs of "Argo" are widely available. Even in authoritarian society like Iran, it hard to deny people what they want, be it information, entertainment or more illicit pleasures.
"Argo" depicts the rescue of six Americans who avoided capture in 1979 when an Iranian mob stormed the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and claimed 52 Americans as hostages. The hostages were held for 444 days, finally being released on the day President Ronald Reagan was sworn into office in January 1981.
The other six, however, were sneaked out of the country by the CIA after they took refuge in the Canadian embassy. "Argo" tells the story, with typical Hollywood flourishes, of the rescue effort.
The Iranian government says it is not content with making a critical review of "Argo" and will respond with a movie version of its own. To be called "The General's Staff," it will be a joint production of Iran's Art Bureau and the Islamic Ideology Dissemination Organization.
It sounds like a real winner — perhaps at the Oscars in a couple of years.