Having watched the beginning of the Oscar winning film Argo which presents itself as a documentary style film without the essential documentary bits. There is cause for concern and here’s why…
The film carefully avoids important facts when it sets up the Iranian Shah as promoting western society while briefly mentioning the poverty of the people without its cause as it sets up the religious orthodox opponent Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. The opening scenes show US embassy staff discussing leaving the embassy through the main road while a European man is held hostage by the neck outside. ARGO fails to mention the fact that the British secret service, MI6, and the CIA organized a coup to remove the then Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq in 1953, who in 1951 had unanimous support for a bill to re-nationalise Iran’s oil industry from what he felt was unfair practices. It fails to state the US and UK helped impose and assist the brutal regime of dictator Mohammad Reza Pahlavi who remained in power until he was overthrown in 1979, some 28 years later. More importantly, this film fails to reference the fact that the US administration had to own up to the involvement in the coup of 60-years ago because the CIA itself released documents. Canadian Prime Minister of 1979 Jo Clark himself felt hard done by the film Argo. He said: “I think the truth is the better story”.
The problem is Argo serves neither the ideals of classical film which seeks to entertain through universal conflicts or the cinematic truth ideals of documentary making. Argo is not only selective and revisionist but it is also dull and meaningless.
ARGO sets itself up as a documentary style film but then fails to deliver or deal with the difficult facts which surround US and UK involvement. No one who uses power is innocent, any Shakespeare play is testimony to this fact. However, I myself only became aware of US and British involvement in overthrowing Iran’s democratic regime after reading papers exposed by law professors who found such information by accident! This questions the very basis of information about Iran. It is therefore odd that the facts in the film ARGO have not been questioned by the kind of historians who saw fit to pour over what was clear fiction in Django Unchained even though so-called recorded facts of slavery have proven to be utterly unreliable because they hide the kind of untruths and barbarity later employed by the Nazis.
Argo was awarded best film at the Oscars. I am left to laugh or cry because this is no place for any genuine film maker. Argo is a joke and a bad one at that.