Will Hollywood apologise to Iran?
Shortly after a breathlessly hyper Ron Rosenbaum declared Stephen Daldry’s The Reader to be one of the worst Holocaust films ever made, comes a piece of news, if not directly, then indirectly related. According to news reports, the Iranian officials have asked Hollywood to apologise over the ‘insults and slander’ of the Iranian people evident in their films over the last 30 years.
Quite naturally, Zack Snyder’s 300 is among the films mentioned in the objection raised by Iran. The other offender mentioned is the Mickey Rourke starrer The Wrestler directed by Darren Aronofsky.
Despite the offenses Hollywood has often been accused of and very often let off with, the Oscars are known for their politically correct (sometimes painfully so) position when it comes to awards. Therefore promotion of films on Third World poverty (Slumdog Millionaire’s Oscar sweep serves as good evidence of this) and other socially relevant issues (race, gender, Holocaust – as Kate Winslet irreverently declared on The Extras – are just a few) tops the Oscar priority list.
As a result, members of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences are in Iran to discuss the boycott of ‘the Hollywood group’ by the Iranian officials.
The Iranians are however sticking to their stand very firmly, with Javad Shamaghdari, the art adviser to Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad saying, “Iranian cinema officials will only have the right to have official sessions with Hollywood movie makers when they apologise to the Iranians for their 30 years of insults and slanders…”
He then added, “We will believe (US President Barack) Obama’s policy of change when we see change in Hollywood too, and if Hollywood wants to correct its behaviour towards Iranian people and Islamic culture then they have to officially apologise.”
If Hollywood is indeed to apologise, it might be a first, and AMPAS may have to open an entire new wing to issue apologies to all the cultures and communities Hollywood offends. Indians, Africans, Latin Americans and Canadians can gear up and make their lists.