An Academy award for “a movie you’ll love from a country you hate”
The quote in the subtitle is barrowed from James Lewis Hoberman, the former longtime film critic of the Village Voice, characterizing Farhadi’s ‘A Separation’ in a piece recently published in the Los Angeles Times. Hoberman barrowed this quote from the late film executive, Bingham Ray’s promotion of Jafar Panahi’s ‘The White Balloon’, some seventeen years earlier. Politicizing Iranian films – and by extension, filmmakers – appears to be the best box office inducement for the populace whose cartoonish image of Iran is deeply entrenched.
Treating Iranian films – or any other art forms – as political statements is not limited to American film critics and industry executives. Many fellow – or former – Iranians appraise an Iranian artwork by its political content and message. There are two reasons for such an approach: a) Compulsive affinity for politics, particularly in its most adulterated and profane forms, above and beyond any other human endeavor; b) Xenophobic mindset.
Let us pause, for a day at least, and celebrates Farhadi’s Academy award, and in the name of “the people who respect all cultures and civilizations and despise hostility” put aside our pitiful bickering and posturing. Let us all be winners, for a change.