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Friday, March 1, 2013

Argo ~ Oscar; Michelle Obama and Iran news

Cinema is pure entertainment or that is what they claim them to be… I am cynical, am not able to relish many cinemas due to my strong views and prejudices…….. and I also feel that this one industry where people get disproportionate returns and many a times has nothing to do with talent for becoming a celebrity or reap success or high rewards….. opinions are opinions, let them be so.  We read newspapers and the photos do represent a lot………. Perhaps, next time, you may be mentally disinclined to accept things as they are :

This is a film described in one part as distorted version, far from truth,  advertisement for CIA and the like………… It is ‘Argo’, American dramatic thriller film directed by Ben Affleck. This dramatization is adapted from the book The Master of Disguise by CIA operative Tony Mendez, and Joshuah Berman's 2007 Wired article "The Great Escape" about the "Canadian Caper", in which Mendez led the rescue of six U.S. diplomats from Tehran, Iran, during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis.

Argo is in news; Argo received seven nominations for the 85th Academy Awards and won three, for Best Film Editing, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Picture, the first time since 1989's Driving Miss Daisy where the Best Picture winner was not nominated for Best Director. Michelle Obama surprised everyone when she appeared live from the White House to present the Best Picture award at the Oscars. She wore a thin-strapped metallic dress with a low neckline and presented "Argo" with the coveted award.

Miles away, Fars News Agency (FNA) is a news agency in Iran. While it describes itself as "Iran's leading independent news agency”. In addition to Persian, FNA also provides news in English, Turkish and Arabic.  There have been news that newsitems gets printed differently by different agencies. In September 2012, Fars News picked up—as fact—a story from The Onion, a satirical newspaper, about a supposed survey showing an overwhelming majority of rural white Americans would rather vote for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad than US President Barack Obama in the upcoming US elections.

Now it is reported that the Iranian news agency altered a photograph of Michelle Obama presenting an award at the Oscars Sunday night to fit the country's guidelines for showing images of women in the media. Iran's Fars News published a story about the Oscars on its website with a photograph of Obama presenting the award but photoshopped her dress to appear more modest. Sleeves were added to cover her shoulders and the neckline was raised to completely cover her chest. 

This is not the first time publications have altered images of U.S. leaders. A Brooklyn-based Hasidic newspaper removed Sec. of State Hillary Clinton and another woman from the iconic photograph of leaders watching the raid that killed Osama bin Laden from the Situation Room. The paper eventually apologized for the editing job, but said the decision was for religious purposes and cited the "laws of modesty" that govern the publication. Doctoring of pictures is not uncommon in Iran. State rules say Iranian women on television should wear a hijab and have their hair, arms and legs covered, and censors often have to resort to photoshop to tone down the appearance of foreigners.

The Iranian news agency not only photoshopped the US first lady presenting the Oscar for Best Picture  but also dismissed the film Argo as an "advertisement for the CIA" and some Iranians called the award a political statement by America for its unflattering portrayal of the aftermath of the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Fars branded Argo as an "anti-Iran movie" financed by a "Zionist company" - in a reference to the California-based Warner Bros. which produced it. Iran's culture minister, Mohammad Hosseini is quoted as stating Hollywood has "distorted history" as part of what Iranian officials call a "soft war" of cultural influence in Iran.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.
26th Feb 2013.

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