Iran threatens lawsuit over Argo

Propaganda allegations also surround Red Dawn.

by Jennie Kermode

Following numerous protests over Ben Affleck's Oscar-winning film Argo, Iran has now threatened to sue, arguing that the film presents it in an unrealistic light. It has dismissed representations of the 1979 revolution and hostage crisis as propaganda. Meanwhile, similar allegations surround the remake of cold war invasion drama Red Dawn.

Though it's unclear exactly what charges Iran could bring - a complaint of lack of realism might require making a case that most films do represent their settings realistically - talks are understood to have been taking place at a senior level, with French lawyer Isabelle Coutant-Peyre offering to represent the Iranian government. The involvement of US First lady Michelle Obama in presenting Affleck with his Oscar has led to accusations that the whole production was the product of a political conspiracy.

The timing of these accusations may relate to the release of another film that has sparked international upset, Red Dawn. A remake of the 1984 film in which a group of teenagers fight back against a Soviet invasion of the US, it was originally intended to feature an invasion by the Chinse, but the Beijing authorities protested. In the finished version, the invading forces come from North Korea. Quite how a country of 24 million people hopes to control a country of 314 million is unclear, but the choice probably relates to the fact the hermit kingdom is not seen as a real threat.

There is another factor at play here, which may prove more significant that military posturing or lawsuits - the marketplace. China is a massive consumer of Hollywood films and any restrictions it might choose to impose on their import could seriously hurt the US economy. Iran and North Korea, by contrast, screen very little Hollywood output, though Argo has proven popular in both countries on the DVD black market.

Share this with others on...

Sense memories Robert Tinnell on Feast Of The Seven Fishes and family memories

Keeping his word Michael Apted in conversation on 63 Up

Talking about juxtapositions Thom Powers on dreams, fashion, identity, nature and bright spotlights in DOC NYC

Dedicated to DA Pennebaker Thom Powers on Martin Scorsese, Michael Apted, the Masters and Winner’s Circle in the tenth edition

EIFF goes coastal Free Film Fest on the Forth announced

DOC NYC award winners announced Viewfinders, Metropolis, Shorts and Short List results

More news and features

We're bring you coverage of the London Korean Film Festival and DOC NYC and the French Film Festival.

We're looking forward to Tallinn Black Nights and Welsh horror festival Abertoir.

We've recently been at the Valencia Film Festival, New York's NewFest, the Cambridge Film Festival, the New York Film Festival, the London Film Festival, the Iris Prize Festival in Cardiff, Manchester's Grimmfest, the Scottish Queer International Film Festival and the San Sebastian Film Festival.

Read our full for more.

Visit our festivals section.


More competitions coming soon.