Iranians feel isolated from the world, and blockbuster Hollywood moves don't help. They tend to paint all Iranians with the same brush. The two obvious examples are ‘Not Without My Daughter’ (1991) where the seemingly charming Iranian husband of an American wife turns out to be two faced and brutal; and ‘300’ (2006), a film depicting the Battle of Thermopylae in which 300 Spartans take on the Persian army of a million. What outraged Iranians was that the Persians were depicted as a barbaric horde and their king, Xerxes, as an effeminate pervert.
Hollywood’s latest film dealing with Iran, the action packed ‘Argo’, has reached the number one spot at the US box office. The reaction of Iranians has not been very warm. The film covers the forceful takeover of the US Embassy in 1979 and how six diplomats managed to escape. The film is rated R because of its violence and intensity.
Though the terrible ordeal endured by the US hostages is, of course, true, the average Iranian is afraid that viewers will see them all in the same light. They want the world to know that they do not sympathise with violence and terror. They also do not want to be constantly portrayed in an intensely negative light and they feel a sense of injustice when they are judged by a film.
For the Gospel it is important that foreign Christians reject any caricature of Iranians fuelled by Hollywood, but instead pray for them as ordinary people who need to hear the Gospel.
• Films like Argo not to fuel racism against Iranians
• Iranians not to feel victimised, but to deal with issues where necessary
• Hollywood to make some positive films about Iran