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Iran to remake Affleck's Argo following film ban

Categories: Arts & Entertainment, World

Ben Affleck's film Argo, which tells the story of how U.S. diplomats escaped from Iran during the 1979 hostage crisis, may be a hit in Hollywood - but in Iran the movie has been blasted as a distortion and banned.

Now Ataollah Salmanian, an Iranian actor and filmmaker, says the screenplay for an Iranian side of the story is production ready.

Setad Moshtarak, or The General Staff, has been approved by Iran's Art Bureau and awaits the budget to begin filming.

"The movie entitled The General Staff is about the 20 American hostages who were delivered to the United States by the revolutionaries," Salmanian was quoted as saying in the Tehran Times.

"This film, which will be a big production, should be an appropriate response to the ahistoric film Argo."

The Tehran Times describes the film as a drama about the "joint CIA-Canadian secret operation to extract six fugitive American diplomatic personnel out of revolutionary Iran."

But average Iranians can't easily judge Argo for themselves because the movie is banned in their country.

Argo was officially called an "anti-Iranian" film following its premiere in October 2012, notes the Tehran paper.

Mohammad Hosseini, the minister of culture and Islamic guidance, has condemned the film as "an offensive act" driven by "evil intentions," according to The Guardian.

Canada's Argo qualms

This isn't the first time Affleck has been taken to task for Argo's patriotic slant.

Following the film's screening at the Toronto International Film Festival, critics complained that Argo minimized the Canadian ambassador's role in getting the U.S. hostages safely out of Iran.

(In response, Affleck contacted former Canadian ambassador Ken Taylor to draft a new postscript for the film.)

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Neither is this the first film starring Affleck to raise eyebrows in the country portrayed as the antagonist.

The actor also starred in the 2001 movie Pearl Harbor, which was re-dubbed for a Japanese audiences to emphasize the love story and play down the war story.

Still, non-American audiences had mixed feelings.

''From the American point of view, it was wonderful,'' moviegoer Keiko Iijima told the New York Times at the time of the movie's release, speaking with a hint of sarcasm.

''In the debate over our textbooks, we hear that some parts of history have been cut out . . . I think that our pilots had their own families and their own lives, and they were not depicted in the film.''

Do you seek out movies about historical events from a non-Western perspective - like Letters from Iwo Jima, A Separation and Das Boot?

If you speak more than one language, have you ever noticed something lost in translation when reading subtitles or watching a re-dubbed film?

How do you feel about movies that portray your country as an aggressor or villain?

(This survey is not scientific. Results are based on reader replies.) 



Tags: Canada, U.S.

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