Fact or fiction? ‘Argo’ fuels Iran history debate
LOS ANGELES (AFP) – Iran’s announcement that it will make its own film to counter the “distorted” thriller “Argo” is fuelling a debate about Hollywood and historical accuracy, sparked by Ben Affleck’s Oscar-tipped movie.
The film, which won the top two Golden Globes last weekend and is nominated for seven prizes at next month’s Academy Awards, tells the story of a bold CIA operation to rescue six US diplomats trapped by the 1979 hostage crisis.
But it openly takes liberties with the facts. In a white-knuckle climax, for example, Iranian guards speed along a runway next to a plane carrying the escaping diplomats, threatening to stop it from taking off. That didn’t happen.
Canada’s role in giving refuge to the diplomats in Tehran, and securing their safe passage out of Iran, is significantly underplayed. The mission is seen as largely the work of CIA agent Tony Mendez, played by Affleck.
Mark Lijek, one of the six diplomats helped to freedom, says the actor-director is justified in massaging the facts to create a more compelling story – although he acknowledges some concerns.
“I understand it was necessary to dramatise the facts in order to create the atmosphere a thriller requires,” he told AFP after “Argo” won best picture (drama) and best director awards for Affleck at the Golden Globes.