Thursday, June 25, 2009

Iran's government: "We'll quell them with hobbits!"

The Lord of the Rings movie adaptations are pretty good (I could discourse at length about their flaws, of course), but somehow I don't think the Iranians will accept this in lieu of the changes they're demanding:

In Tehran, state television's Channel Two is putting on a "Lord of the Rings" marathon, part of a bigger push to keep us busy. Movie mad and immunized from international copyright laws, Iranians are normally treated to one or two Hollywood or European movie nights a week. Now it's two or three films a day. The message is "Don't Worry, Be Happy." Let's watch, forget about what's happened, never mind. Stop dwelling in the past. Look ahead.

Frodo: "I wish the ring had never come to me. I wish that none of this had happened."

Gandalf: "So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us."

The author of this piece wonders:
Who picked this film? I start to suspect that there is a subversive soul manning the controls at Seda va Sima, AKA the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting. It is way too easy to play with the film, to draw comparisons to what is happening in real life. There are the overt Mousavi themes: the unwanted quest and the risking of life in pursuit of an unanticipated destiny. Then there is the sly nod to Ahmadinejad. Iranian films are dubbed (forget the wretched dubbing into English in the U.S.; in Iran dubbing is a craft) and there are plenty of references to "kootoole," little person, the Farsi word used in the movie for hobbit and dwarf. "Kootoole," of course, was, is, the term used in many of the chants out on the street against President Ahmadinejad.
But the hobbits and dwarves are the good guys. So maybe it is being shown as a pro-hardliner propaganda piece.

It's funny that the state is trying to bribe people with the very thing that it rails against: the culture of "The Great Satan". If the best thing that they can come up with to keep people glued to their televisions are Hollywood blockbusters, then haven't the anti-Westerners already lost?


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