Last night's Oscars, nabbed a second win for Asghar Farhadi. Was it Iran's best film? Hardly. A middle class, "safe" married couple, wander out of their zone of comfort, and get into some seriously scary shit.
Yet another rip off of an overdone theme. And not the first time Farhadi has been playing with the idea of borrowing and improving on others' ideas.
Farhadi specializes in using Western filmmaking techniques to tell Islamic Republic of Iran stories. Cannes and Hollywood are eating it up. Cannes eats up Farhadi, because they know how much it pisses off the US to award the mortal enemy of the US. During the 70's Cannes couldn't get enough of Viet Namese directors. In the foreign film category Hollywood tries to be as chic as Cannes.
Farhadi's previous film a Separation, ripped off, "Divorce Iranian Style" which very effectively highlighted the horrible Iranian divorce laws and how badly Iranian women are treated.
Farhadi put his usual pro-IRI "special effects" on it, and made it into a pro-Hejab soap opera. No one noticed, everyone loved it. Americans bought the theory that Iranian women just love wearing the hejab. So much so, they even wear it when they are alone. Iran's Islamic film modesty rules aside, Farhadi will only take off the hejab in his very last film from Iran. And he's certainly not done yet!
Fast forward, then rewind to last night's debacle. Of all people Anousheh Ansari, another “Iranian actress”, famous for her self funded role as Iran's continuously lone astronaut, accepted the honor of reading Farhadi's acceptance speech. Iran’s other “space cadet” Firouz Naderi… I mean Dr. Firouz Naderi, I mean Dr. Firouz Michael Naderi, was the statue holding the statue. Mike and Oscar. An odd couple to be sure.
Ansari went on (and on and on and on) to read Farhadi’s unconvincing humanitarian ode. In which he proceeded to pretend to suck up to the Islamic Republic even more. Delivering his own badly acted lines, as the "angry defiant artist Oscar winner", pretending to lambast the Trump administration for it's recent Moslem travel ban via executive order. Which was nullified in one day, in US Federal court.
Know this, Trump’s order, has barely made it annoying for rich elite Iranians to leave Iran, and come to the US to stash more of the billions they are systematically looting from Iran's rapidly dwindling treasure.
Poor Iranians, and especially the poor Iranian dissidents everyone thinks Trump is hurting with the travel ban, are prevented from coming to the US even before they dream of it. By Iran! These poor sods aren't allowed to leave their house, let alone Iran. Ever! Even if they could, no one has the cash to buy a ticket to the US anyway.
So, like the inevitability of gravity, Ansari, like her ridiculously pseudo-ethnic shawl/tent/sari/WTF? outfit (Azizam, have you ever heard of an Oscar gown?) fell for it last night.
What makes the capitulation so insulting, is that Ansari always has the ability to speak out. But never does. $20 Million could easily be better spent fighting and exposing Iranian government oppression and tyranny against the Iranian people. I think you might even be able to buy an entire Iranian presidency with $20 million!
But where's the Zero-G fun in that?