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Iranian experts debate '300'

TEHRAN, April 16 (Mehr News Agency) -- President's advisor on media affairs called the film '300', hatred of the heathen civilization of the West toward the divine East, especially Islamic Iran.

In a session held at the Fars News Agency on Sunday, Mehdi Kalhor, cinema expert Majid Shah-Hosseini, and a group of journalists reviewed the Warner Brother's historically inaccurate film.

Speaking at the session, Kalhor said, "There is an assumption that the film '300' was produced and screened in a hurry, but the film was actually ready for viewing a year ago. A film with a very similar theme was produced in Hollywood in the 1960's. Other photo-comic works were also produced in the United States featuring the same topic during World War II.

"In 'The Story of Civilization', Will Durant narrates that the Greeks planned to liberate their country from the Iranians, and in order to attain independence, they rebelled. The battle took place in a small valley where a group of 20,000 soldiers were sheltering. Durant believes that this battle had no victory but that combat only halted for a short time, although Xerxes finally captured Greece," he added.

This book depicts opposition between the East and the West which is partly spiteful, however, any maliciousness to be found, cannot be linked with the Islamic Revolution, since the book was written years before.

"The European cinema and Zionist companies also produced anti-Islamic films during 1980's, and it is obvious that '300' will not be the last," Kalhor remarked.

Participant, Shah-Hosseini also noted that in Oliver Stone's film "Alexander", the director tried to depict the fall of Iran at the hands of Alexander's army. The film was far more destructive than '300', but only a few people protested against it.

"The West feels that the end of the world is approaching and it has an 'end of the world attitude' in productions such as "Lord of the Rings" and '300'. In Hollywood productions, the characters are somewhere between fantasy and realism.

"In '300' the Americans are killed to achieve their goals and thus they have tried to dramatize the concept of martyrdom in their culture." Shah-Hosseini added.

Kalhor continued, "The Spartans are the American agents and the Greeks symbolize old and weak Europeans. It is simplistic if we think that the movie has been produced with no intension."

In answer to the question of the proper response to such acts, Kalhor said, "Definitely, making a movie like '200' or '400' is not a remedy. We must first review our position in art as artists and in culture as filmmakers. '300' shows how the West wants us to be. The first issue is our level of awareness and the second issue is the provision of adequate financial support."

"The budget for the '300' production was $60million, while the Culture Ministry's annual budget is almost one fourth of this sum, so we are not able to produce a movie of this magnitude."

"Our artists must choose an original Iranian approach. As we do not possess a comprehensive history of the past we have a shortage of romantic literature. However, traditional literature can be a good source for moviemakers.

Directed by Zack Snyder and based on the epic graphic novel by Frank Miller, '300' is a ferocious retelling of the ancient Battle of Thermopylae in which King Leonidas and 300 Spartans fought to the death against Xerxes and his massive Persian army. Facing insurmountable odds, their valor and sacrifice inspired the whole of Greece to unite against their Persian enemy, drawing a line in the sand for democracy.

300's Persians are ahistorical monsters and freaks. They are black creatures with bloody eyes looking like the terrorists of today. Xerxes is eight feet tall, clad chiefly in body piercings and garishly made up.

... Payvand News - 4/16/07 ... --

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