AMPAS in Iran: Cultural Exchange, "Hanoi Jane II," or Something ElseOn the other hand, I couldn't help remembering when the "Barbarella" starlet took her well-rounded talents to Hanoi: to "expose the lies and help end the war" - a very 'relevant' position, at the time.
My recollection is that her visit was hailed in the 'better' circles as a cry for peace - and proof that McCarthy-era blacklists hadn't entirely destroyed the heart of Hollywood.
Others started calling her 'Hanoi Jane,' and to this day aren't all that pleased with that particular performance.
That was then, this is now.
Maybe the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has more collective wisdom than a sixties starlet did.
AMPAS in Iran: No Political AgendaAccording to AMPAS, anyway. They're being rather careful to point that out.
As International News put it, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts (AMPAS) visit to Iran is a " 'completely private initiative for educational and creative exchange and with no political agenda,' AMPAS director of communications Leslie Unger told AFP. She confirmed Iranian media reports saying the delegation included AMPAS president Sid Ganis, former president Frank Pierson, actress Annette Bening and producer William Horberg."
That "no political agenda" part sounds promising. And, AMPAS seems to be an movie industry/creative outfit: Maybe they really are just interested in comparing notes with Iranian movie-makers.
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences: Political Activists, or Show Biz Types?I discovered that the four AMPAS people mentioned in the article have somewhat controversial backgrounds:
- Sidney Ganis
- Involved in the "I Dream of Jeannie" remake, scheduled for release in 2010
- Had trouble working with Barbra Streisand
- Annette Bening
- Known accomplice in production of "Mars Attacks!: Played Barbara Land
- William Horberg
- Produced "Poodle Springs"
I could be wrong, but it looks like the AMPAS delegation to Iran is a bunch of long-time American movie industry professionals, who want to see what movies and movie makers are like in Iran. If they remember that Iran isn't India, and that Bollywood probably won't happen in Iran until the Ayatollahs are out, I think they'll be okay.
I'm keeping a good thought about this visit.
AMPAS in Iran: What Good Could Possibly Come of This?Provided that the AMPAS people remember who allows them enormous leeway in what sort of movies they can make, and who probably wouldn't, the American movie-makers could learn from what their counterparts in Iran have been doing lately, and the Iranian artists and producers could do the same. I see it as a potentially win-win situation, in terms of boosting creative output on both sides.
There's a possibility that Iranian movie people will understand a little more about their American counterparts - and vice versa - which can't, I think, hurt. Knowing the people behind movies, or any other information, can make communication easier.
And, as the years, decades, centuries, and millennia go on, people living in Iran and in North America will, I think be better off if they can communicate effectively.
Cultural Exchange?! Isn't Iran the Enemy?!Yes, and no.
Death to the Jews! Death to the Great Satan America! - Friends of America, These Aren'tThe Ayatollahs may or may not be willing to live in a world that knows about the Magna Carta, and those eighteenth century revolutions. President Ahmadinejad's version of reality may be wack, even by the Ayatollah's standards, and Iran efforts to develop a very peaceful nuclear program and advanced ICBMs seems to have even the EU concerned.
That's Iran's government. Which some Iranians don't seem to be entirely happy with.
Academy of Motion Picture Arts is, I hope, interested in meeting with Iranian movie-makers. Some of whom may be somewhat neutral about the Ayatollah's vision for Iran.
It's a bit difficult not to think of the "death to Israel! Death to the great Satan America!" outfit that runs Iran as a non-enemy of America.
But, they're just the people who are running Iran's government. Iran and the Iranian people were around for a long, long time before the Ayatollahs: and, for that matter, before the Shah. I think they'll be around long after the Shah, the Ayatollahs, and whatever comes next, pass from the scene and are as deep in the past as Darius1 is now.
So, politics and goofy ideology aside, I don't really see Iran and the Iranian people as 'the enemy.'
- "Ahmadinejad Wants America to Apologize: This is News?"
(January 28, 2009)
- "United Nations Secretary General on Gaza, Hamas, and Israel: Almost Good News"
(January 7, 2009)
- "Iranian Newspaper Calls Hamas Terrorists, Gets Banned"
(December 31, 2008)
- "America, Iran, Freedom of Speech, Censorship: Be Careful What You Wish For"
(June 22, 2008)
- "News, Truth, and Why America is at Fault"
(June 20, 2008)
- "Different Strokes for Different Folks: How Middle Eastern Culture Deals With Reality?"
(November 2, 2007)
- Remember President Ahmadinejad's famous laugh line? ""In Iran, we don't have homosexuals, like in your country.""
- "Hollywood team visits Iran"
International News briefs (March 1, 2009)
- "Hollywood team in Iran on cultural exchange"
AFP (February 27, 2009)
- "Fonda: 'Hanoi Jane' visit was a mistake"
MSNBC (March. 31, 2005)
1 I know: It's "Dārayavauš," not "Darius." But, as I've pointed out before: this blog is in English, so its readers generally understand that language. Not so many people understand Ancient Persian, though: so I'm using the form of Dārayavauš that English-speaking people got from the Graeco-Roman world.