If Hollywood made an Iranian anti-US revenge fantasy
- 25 August 2016
It has the production values of a Hollywood blockbuster and the heightened emotion of a Bollywood musical, but the message couldn't be more anti-American.
An extraordinary eight-minute music video/revenge fantasy called "We are standing to last drop of blood" has been regularly shown on on Iran's national TV this month and set social media buzzing.
The film shows patriotic youths magically destroying an American invasion fleet which has targeted an idyllic Iranian seaside town and its peaceful nuclear power plant. When the civilians come under unprovoked attack the Iranian heroes unite to use the power of their national flag to create a tsunami that destroys the US ships and aircraft. It ends with the idyllic seaside town and peaceful nuclear power plant returned to tranquillity. Subtle it is not.
The video is partially inspired by the events of July 1988, when Iran Air Flight 655 was shot down by the American warship, the USS Vincennes, after apparently being mistaken for a jet fighter. All 290 people onboard the passenger plane were killed.
It is an event which has a particular emotional significance to many Iranians. And some, including conservative Iranian voices, have suggested that the overblown imagery in the new video trivialises the tragedy of the event.
The Javan newspaper, which is close to Iran's Revolutionary Guards, published an article lashing what it described as a flop. "Hollywood-style budget, Bollywood-style quality", read the headline. "It seems that the producers of the clip watch too many Hindi movies," the author concluded.
The video starts with a little girl on board the aircraft playing with her doll as the captain welcomes passengers onboard.
Simultaneously, the people on the beach seems to be going about their own business; children playing, a couple picnicking, a cafe owner bringing tea to customers.
Then, as one of the children fetches the ball from the sea, a dark shadow looms over him.
He looks up to see a missile hitting the plane in the dreary sky. At the sight of American warships in the distance, he drops the ball and runs. There's confusion.
It is then that the singer, an ordinary man among the crowd, steps up.
"Oh you warship, your loud roar does not scare me", the singer chides, as he shakes his finger at the invaders.
Fighter jets attack the shore as he stands still watching in astonishment. Then he runs back quickly, grabs the flying Iranian flag. Other men grab more flags and join in line. They all move forward towards the enemy.
The warships target them and shoot.
"If you dare passing me by, I will break your legs", the singer warbles. The men emerge from the dust of an explosion, crying out loud, running towards the ships. They plant their flags into the surf with such force that it creates a tsunami that swallows up the entire invading fleet, including the Vincennes, and several US aircraft.
The ships flip over and a burning US flag floats on the sea.
The clip, produced by Sureh Film Club, is affiliated to the state-owned Islamic Propagation Organisation, whose chairman is appointed by Iran's supreme leader.
The Sobh-e No newspaper reported that the budget for the video was 1.2bn tomans, about $385,000. A figure disputed by the head of the film club, who said he would reveal the true cost at a later date. The newspaper report said a team of 150 people worked on the project. The production is said to have taken two years to complete.
Many Iranians on social media were critical. One Twitter user wrote: "Why spend public money to produce such low-quality products?"
Another mockingly noted: "In the video, the Iranians shout and the American warships capsize! Therefore it would be better if the military budget is spent on amplifiers and megaphones."
However, some were generally supportive, even if the praise was qualified: "Although they are misusing nationalistic sentiment, the hoisting of the flag in front of the Americans is significant."
Reporting by Noosha Soluch, BBC Monitoring
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