Argo (2012)

Mon, Nov. 5th, 2012 11:54 am
oyceter: teruterubouzu default icon (Default)
[personal profile] oyceter
Dear movie: when you begin with an explanatory sequence about the election of Mohammad Mosaddegh and how the US and UK plotted to overthrow him because he was limiting their access to oil, and then how the US- and UK-supported shah became increasingly tyrannical, and then describe the Iranian Revolution and the US giving political asylum to the shah and how Iranians were kind of pissed off by this and stormed the US Embassy, it really doesn't position me to be all that sympathetic to portrayals of Iranian mobs and poor scared USians holding up against the Scary Angry Muslim Hordes (tm).

(I am, hopefully obviously, also not in favor totalitarian regimes, holding embassy people hostage, and etc. It's just that Hollywood has produced quite a few things with this point of view and very few things centering on POC and critiquing USian world policy.)

Argo is a well-made movie. That said, I was bored during nearly all of it, save looking at all the period clothing and furniture. Oh, and I was vastly amused by SpyDaddy (Victor Garber) playing the Canadian ambassador. I could tell that all the last-minute drama in the movie was made up and not based on true events, because hey, Hollywood. Also, I am annoyed at all the focus on Tony Mendez instead of the six diplomats and the Canadian ambassador, particularly at the insertion of his attempts to stay in touch with his young son while he and his wife are going through a break. Of course, part of the film's conclusion is Mendez hugging his son and his (nameless, voiceless) wife as a fitting heteronormative nuclear family reward to his ordeal. Oh manpain. I am so bored by you.

(Was curious if Mendez himself ID's as white; I can't tell from Google.)

So: well-made movie that basically conforms to the "single person saves the day" narrative and "scary Muslim people" narrative. I feel like I've seen enough of these already and would much rather give my money to something that is at least trying to be a bit different. (Watched this with the family, ergo the choice of movie.)

Also saw a preview of Steven Spielberg and Daniel Day-Lewis' next shot for the Oscar, Lincoln. Am very uninterested, wish the preview didn't advocate the "single great (white) man freeing the slaves out of the goodness of his heart" narrative, also would like to see a movie about slavery that daresay stars Actual Black People (tm). As opposed to, you know, a few crowd shots of black people eagerly awaiting Lincoln's words re: their fate.

... sometimes I forget how rare just passing part of the Bechdel test (and its equivalents) is. Le sigh.
Tags:

(no subject)

Mon, Nov. 5th, 2012 08:52 pm (UTC)
hesychasm: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] hesychasm
I was planning to watch Argo on DVD or something, as I'm sort of following Bryan Cranston's ventures into film. But I've been wary of the US focus as well.

You might be interested in Twelve Years A Slave when it comes out next year. It's directed by Steve McQueen, who awesomely took a panel of white directors to task here (video link). And it stars Chiwetel Ejiofor, who is just, you know, awesome.

(no subject)

Mon, Nov. 5th, 2012 09:10 pm (UTC)
giandujakiss: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] giandujakiss
Was curious if Mendez himself ID's as white; I can't tell from Google

He absolutely does not. I liked the movie a lot more than you did, but that bit of casting really bugged me.

(no subject)

Mon, Nov. 5th, 2012 09:46 pm (UTC)
boxofdelights: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] boxofdelights
He identifies as Latino but that doesn't necessarily mean he does not identify as white. Like me, he's got a Latino father and a white mother; like me, he's got a Spanish last name but he's a native speaker only of English.

As for me, my mom's white but I'm not; my dad's Puerto Rican but I'm not. What is Tony Mendez? You'd have to ask him.

(no subject)

Mon, Nov. 5th, 2012 09:22 pm (UTC)
oracne: turtle (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] oracne
How were the costumes?

(no subject)

Tue, Nov. 6th, 2012 04:10 pm (UTC)
oracne: turtle (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] oracne
Hmmm. I am mostly curious about this movie because it's history that I remember living through. Costumes would be fun to look at, as well.

(no subject)

Tue, Nov. 6th, 2012 08:27 pm (UTC)
oracne: turtle (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] oracne
I remember watching the DNC and the election when Carter was elected.

(no subject)

Tue, Nov. 6th, 2012 03:10 am (UTC)
yasaman: picture of jasmine flower, with text yasaman (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] yasaman
Pretty much no Americans outside of history buffs or people with interest in Middle Eastern history/policy know about Operation Ajax and the overthrow of Mossadegh, so I'm kind of excited that it even gets an explanation at all. Because, seriously, it is a big fucking reason why Iran is so ambivalent to the US and UK. US media never cares to explain the circumstances leading up to the revolution in 1979.

(no subject)

Tue, Nov. 6th, 2012 03:23 am (UTC)
arch: The 11th Doctor and Amy's backs are to us as they look out over the barrage balloons of London during the Blitz. (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] arch
Yeah -- for me, that first bit, told as it was in the voice of a woman with a Farsi accent, cast a huge shadow over the entire rest of the movie. Everything afterward read to me as Iranians trying to put their country back together after disastrous imperialist interventions by the US and UK that directly precipitated horrible cruelties. It was such an unexpected framework for me, in a Hollywood movie, that I saw it as an intentional complication of what could otherwise be interpreted as a straightforwardly anti-Iranian film.

(no subject)

Tue, Nov. 6th, 2012 06:06 am (UTC)
Posted by (Anonymous)
There's an interesting 2002 (U.S.-made) film called "Maryam" (http://movies.yahoo.com/movie/maryam/) about an Iranian-American immigrant family living in New Jersey and their experiences during the hostage crisis. I'm not sure it ever got very widely distributed or released on DVD (I got to see it for free around the time it was originally released because the director--who I believe is Iranian-American himself--is married to one of my co-workers), but you might be able to order it via Netflix or something.

The film focuses mainly on the title character, an Americanized teenage girl who prefers to be called Mary, and her anti-Shah cousin Ali, who has recently arrived from Iran to attend college in the U.S. and really freaks out when the Shah is not only given asylum, but winds up being treated for cancer or whatever terminal illness he had in a hospital not far from the town where the Iranian immigrant family lives. I thought the movie was pretty good overall, although the outcome of the earnestly nerdy Ali's half-baked attempt to sneak into the hospital to assassinate the Shah seemed rather unrealistic. (Actually, it was probably pretty unrealistic that he didn't get stopped before he even reached the hospital building.)

Marfisa

(no subject)

Tue, Nov. 6th, 2012 03:18 am (UTC)
holyschist: Image of a medieval crocodile from Herodotus, eating a person, with the caption "om nom nom" (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] holyschist
I thought the only reason Affleck played Mendez and Mendez had the gratuitous family subplot was because Affleck was the producer; he was definitely the only person in the main cast who wasn't seriously chosen and made up to look like his real counterpart (probably because...there was just no way that was happening), and I thought he was the weakest acting-wise.

it really doesn't position me to be all that sympathetic to portrayals of Iranian mobs and poor scared USians holding up against the Scary Angry Muslim Hordes (tm).

I actually thought the movie wasn't trying to push that view at all; we both came out of it thinking "Huh, that was a slightly sneaky critique of US foreign policy." Whether the rest of the movie wipes out the critique, which was most apparent in the opening sequence and somewhat undermined by the focus on Affleck-Mendez Saving the Day (some warping of reality required), for the average movie-goer, I don't know--but I didn't think it meant to be uncritical.

(no subject)

Tue, Nov. 6th, 2012 04:52 am (UTC)
holyschist: Image of a medieval crocodile from Herodotus, eating a person, with the caption "om nom nom" (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] holyschist
*nods* I enjoyed it more than you did, I think, and it made me go look up what really happened, which I'm glad about. But it definitely could have been a better movie if it had done some things differently, and you're absolutely right that it didn't balance out the story of the white characters with anything from an Iranian point of view.

(no subject)

Tue, Nov. 6th, 2012 05:06 am (UTC)
holyschist: Image of a medieval crocodile from Herodotus, eating a person, with the caption "om nom nom" (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] holyschist
Persepolis was good! One of these days I should check out the movie...

(no subject)

Tue, Nov. 6th, 2012 03:32 am (UTC)
chomiji: Kitty does not understand!  A kitten snarling, with the word 'wut?' as a caption (kitty - wut)
Posted by [personal profile] chomiji

Hmmm, I'm really glad you commented on this.

Profile

oyceter: teruterubouzu default icon (Default)
Oyceter

February 2017

S M T W T F S
   1234
567891011
12 131415161718
19202122232425
262728    

Most Popular Tags

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags