Monday, September 24, 2012

Reel Facts & Opinions: The Iran Movie Controversy

FACT: Iranian official Javad Shamaghdari said today his country should boycott the 2013 Oscars and not submit a candidate for the Best Foreign Film category. His call was a direct response to the controversial anti-Islam film, INNOCENCE OF MUSLIMS; which was made in the United States, denigrates the prophet Muhammad, and has caused worldwide violent, fatal protests.
The film was written and produced by Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, under the pseudonym of “Sam Bacile”. While the director initially denied to have been behind the film, further investigation established Nakoula to be the same person as Bacile. Further, the actors and crew on set were under the impression they were making a film about life in Egypt 2,000 years ago; however the film went through major changes and overdubs in post-production (unbeknowingist to the cast and crew) which drastically changed the film to an anti-Islamic story.

OPINION: Only seven months ago at the Oscars, Iranian director Asghar Farhadi won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film for his film A SEPARATION – the first such prize for Iran. The call to boycott not only this year’s Oscars, but all future awards based in the West, would deprive the Academy, and the rest of the world of some very good films. This Blogger has a gut reaction to say no to any type of censorship, and feels maybe the rest of the world should be able to decide if the film really does push an anti-Islamic message.
However, the way this film has come together is just too darn shady to ignore. The writer/director put the film together under a fake name, and then denied doing so. He also did the filming under the guise of another story, which put the entire cast and crew in the dark (the lead actress is considering a lawsuit against the director). It is reasonable to assume that the director knew what sort of film he wanted to make in the first place, and knew that he would never get it made by being forthcoming about his intentions to the cast and crew prior to filming. So he cooks up a phony narrative, films it under the pretense of a nice story, and then overdubs everything later on. Who can trust a filmmaker like that?

Further, a bit of research has revealed that the movie does indeed carry a heavy-handed anti-Islamic message. This is not like THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST (2004) where issues of faith are left up to interpretation. This is an egregious attack on a religion, which means it has no artistic or entertainment value. That sort of film has no place in this world; let alone the Oscars.
This Blogger says bury it, and never let this guy near a camera again.

What say you?


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