Director and producer Ben Affleck accepts the award for best motion picture for "Argo" at the 85th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California February 24, 2013. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
Iranian government officials have criticized the Oscar winning film "Argo" as a piece of American propaganda used as a tool to smear the image of the Iranian Revolution, but young Iranian film goers are more open toward the film's subject matter.
"The movie is an anti-Iran film. It is not a valuable film from the artistic point of view. It won the prize by resorting to extended advertisement and investment," said Iranian Culture Minister Mohammad Hosseini, the Associate Press reports.
Directed by Ben Affleck, the film is based on a story of six hostages that escaped the U.S. Embassy in 1979 with the help of the Canadian ambassador and the CIA who pretended to be filming a movie. In all 52 Americans were held hostage by a group of Iranian students who occupied the embassy for 444 days.
The film won an Oscar for Best Motion Picture of the Year but was banned from Iranian theaters along with the Academy Awards.
Iranian officials said the film is part of America's "soft war" against Iran and is a nothing more than a "distortion of history." Relations between the two countries have collapsed since the revolution, which overthrew an U.S. supported dictatorship and replaced it with a republican theocracy headed by Ayatollah Khomeini.
In recent years, the United States along with other western powers have imposed strict sanctions on Iran claiming the Islamic Republic is attempting to build a nuclear bomb. Iranian officials refute the claims and say they are pursuing a peaceful nuclear energy program.
No matter how hard Iranian authorities are trying to keep the film out of Iran, bootleg versions are apparently cheap and easy to find, the report says. Iranians born after the revolution are drawn to it to see a perspective of the revolution they are not familiar with as well as to judge the film for themselves.
"I want to know what the other side is saying," Shieda, a 21-year-old student, who refused to give her full name because of the fear of authorities, told the Associated Press.
Mohammad Amin Sharifi, a movie fan from Tehran, criticized the movie based on its quality.
"In my opinion, it's a nice movie from technical aspects, and it was on the scale of Hollywood movies. But I don't think it was worth a nomination for Oscar and other awards," he said.
One Iranian newspaper even encouraged Iranian to see the film to get a glimpse of America's perspective of the revolution, however, the newspaper noted the film was an attack on Iranian culture and civilization.