Critical films are a cultural betrayal - Iranian minister

2010-08-06 11:36

Making critical films was worse than espionage, an Iranian politician was quoted as saying in a news report today.

“Some Iranian filmmakers just look for the dark sides of Iran and expose them in their films to get awards in international film festivals.

"This is cultural betrayal,” Javad Shamqadri, Iran’s deputy culture minister, was quoted as saying by ISNA news agency.

“They have not yet realised that they are doing wrong.

"This is worse than espionage because spying is one time and then finished, but the impression given in such films will remain in the viewers’ minds,” added Shamqadri, who is in charge of cinema affairs.

Since President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad came to power in 2005, and especially since his disputed re-election, cultural and press freedom has been limited.

The drastic decrease in the government’s tolerance level, as perceived by artists, has pushed many Iranian filmmakers to emigrate or change profession.

“The incredible impact of pictures was one of the main reasons for the humiliating US failure in Vietnam,” the deputy minister said.

The US was using cinema as a tool to “impose its own culture on the world”, Shamqadri said, indicating that Iranian cinema should do the same for Iran.

Just as it once showed native Americans as savages and the Soviets as villains, the Hollywood film industry was now doing the same with Iran and Palestine, he said.

“The Americans claim that not all Muslims are terrorists, but in fact their films say that every terrorist is a Muslim,” the official said.

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