Argo, Ben Affleck’s account of the joint operation between the CIA and Canadian authorities to smuggle six Americans out of Tehran during the 1979 hostage crisis, recently took Best Drama and Best Director at the Golden Globes, putting it as a surprise frontrunner alongside Lincoln and Silver Linings Playbook for the best picture Oscar. The film, not quite flattering to the Iranian regime, has also received much attention in the Middle East. Responding to Argo’s success, Iran’s state media described the Golden Globes as a “political ceremony.” The movie has also been banned in Iran, though pirated copies are being circulated.
Somewhat more surpisingly, Tehran’s Art Bureau has now announced that it will create its own response to Argo, a film entitled The General Staff. According to its director, Ataollah Salmanian, The General Staff will focus on “twenty American hostages who were delivered to the United States by [Iranian] revolutionaries,” most likely a reference to the five female and seven black US hostages Iran released soon after the embassy was occupied, plus another hostage who suffered from multiple sclerosis and was released months later. Salmanian has described Argo as “distorted”, and says his response – which has reportedly been approved by Iran’s Art Bureau – is awaiting a budget to start shooting.
Argo is playing in wide release.
Angelika Film Center
18 West Houston St.,
New York, NY