Kiwis expect a fair go about the rescue in Iran – but the best Ben Affleck could do was give us Argo

You don't get one of these for telling it as it is.

You don’t get one of these for telling it as it is.

Dunno why anyone should think a movie made in Hollywood would tell the whole unvarnished truth about a historical event.

Alf’s dad did his bit on a British destroyer in World War II, blasting German U-boats to save the world from the Nazis. He was damned upset when the tossers who made “The Enemy Below” (starring Robert Mitchum and Curt Jurgens) turned a British ship (see here) into an American one.

The movie script differs substantially from the original book. The ship is changed from British to American. More importantly, the final scenes of mutual respect and potential friendship between the protagonists is not at all how the book ends.

In light of that experience, Alf has steered clear of the movie version of The Hobbit. He fears the worst – that American flags are flown from poles outside the holes in the ground or wherever it is that hobbits reside and that they chew gum, watch baseball and mispronounce “aluminium”.

Because of his experience of Tinseltown’s vague acquaintance with reality, Alf is by no means astonished that the movie version of the Academy Award-winning movie, Argo, is bollocks.

At least, it is bollocks in its view of the role played by our Kiwi diplomats in the 1979 Iran hostage crisis, which is the subject of the movie.

The Canadian ambassador on whom the film was based has popped up today (see here) to say he is concerned a new generation will be misinformed about New Zealand’s role in that crisis.

Former diplomat Ken Taylor helped six United States diplomats flee Tehran after their embassy was stormed.

Argo, directed by Ben Affleck, portrayed their dramatic escape and suggested the New Zealand Embassy in Iran refused to offer help to the American officials.

To the contrary, Taylor is emphasising what every Kiwi instinctively would know – he had had “outstanding assistance” from New Zealand diplomats in Tehran, in particular Ambassador Chris Beeby.

He said Mr Beeby and second secretary Richard Sewell were “world-class diplomats” and “very much part of the team” which helped the fugitives get away.

“They were extraordinary and I’d like New Zealanders to understand that at no time were the New Zealand Embassy asked to take diplomats in and refused.”

The former ambassador said the film was entertaining but he was concerned that it could rewrite the history books for young people.

“As long as people realise that this isn’t the historical record. And that is difficult to do because movies leave an impression. Particularly with young people – they weren’t around when it happened.”

While Affleck has fallen down with his history, however, he is shaping up to become a good politician.

Or a politician’s spin doctor, maybe.

Affleck said he had had to make “creative choices” for the three-hour feature. “It’s tricky, you walk a fine line. It’s not an easy thing to do.

“You try to honour the truth, the essence, the basic truth of the story that you’re telling.

“The story that we’re telling is true … it’s constructed as well as it could possibly be.”

Now, ain’t that just fascinating?

It’s constructed as well as it could possibly be.

Is he seriously telling us it could not be constructed so well if it had to be factual?

The TVNZ account of his celluloid dissembling (here) tells us more.

He told Reel Life with Jane that when producing a historical movie you have to make some creative choices about how you’re going to condense it into a three act structure.

“It’s not an easy thing to do. You try to honour the truth of the essence, the sort of basic truth of the story that you’re telling.”

See what Alf means?

Affleck would be a great politician.

Those statements are the sort of thing a skilled Minister like Steven Joyce tosses up to his leftie and greenie interrogators at Question Time in the House.

Maybe he should have been be in line for an Oscar, too.

Come to think of it, Steven could say “argo” when asked a ticklish question.

If Alf understands it correctly, argo (see here) is a term used by Outlaw Bikers and means “Oh go…..”

Oh go fuck yourself., of example.

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