Last year, Iran presented the world with A Separation, a global sensation that took critics by storm, landing on nearly all Top Ten lists and winning the Oscar for Best Foreign Film, not to mention snagging a nomination for Best Original Screenplay. It is highly regarded by many to be a masterpiece of modern cinema. I'm just really happy that film was released last year and not this year.
Why, you may ask? Well, Iran has made a bold move in the name of personal integrity. They have decided to boycott the Oscars in the wake of personal embarassment an shame over the release of a little film called Innocence of Muslims. Yes, this film depicts their beloved Muhammad as a false prophet and sexual deviant. They have taken this jab seriously and have decided that they are going to withhold their Oscar submission, A Cube of Sugar, this year instead of going through with submitting it into the Oscar Foreign Film race.
I understand integrity and honor and all that mumbo-jumbo, but seriously; this is just stupid. I'm scratching my head trying to understand how on Earth this little film they deem offensive has anything to do with AMPAS. AMPAS wasn't involved in the making of the this film. According to the Wikipedia page, this film was only shown once to like eight people or something. Apparently a slew of videos were posted on YouTube with regard to the film, but outside of that, it's not like this is widely circulated. I never even heard of it until today, and I doubt many are taking this seriously.
If you read the article on The Wrap you'll see that the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is furious. He is quoted as saying: "Offending the Holy Prophet is quite ugly. This has very little or nothing to do with freedom and freedom of speech. This is the weakness of and the abuse of freedom, and in many places it is a crime. It shouldn't take place, and I do hope the day will come in which politicians will not seek to offend those whom others hold holy."
I'm not saying that I disagree with his particular sentements entirely. I have come to view film as pure expression of one's self and really think that it should be viewed by all as such. Film isn't always pretty, just like life isn't always pretty, and no one can expect to react to film in the same manner. With that in mind, I remember the feelings I had while watching Scorsese's The Last Temptation of Christ and thinking it was tacky, exploitive, sacrilegious and insulting. BUT, I wouldn't go so far as to deem it as forbidden or criminal in nature. It is an artistic approach to a controversal subject.
Those things happen all the time.
Anyways, if you're interested, here is the video (from YouTube).
I personally haven't watched this and am not even sure that I want to. Maybe I will thanks to it being brought to my attention and the obvious curiosity that springs to mind thanks to Iran's bizarre decision to boycott Oscar because of this.
What do you think? Is Iran overreacting? Have you seen this? Should I bother watching it?