In his piece about the Academy Awards, the New Yorker’s David Denby wrote this:
I can’t give up my feeling that people are approving of their own tears when they respond to “Les Misérables.” After all, Michael Gerson, George Bush’s principal speechwriter, wrote an entire column in the Washington Post about how much he cried at “Les Mis.” But how much did the Bush Administration do for the downtrodden? I can’t think of a better definition of sentimentality—an emotion disconnected from what one actually is and does—than effusions like Gerson’s.
This is a sneering ignorance. Even a liberal film critic should be familiar with President Bush’s 2003 announcement of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the largest program in history to fight a single disease. The plan included a massive increase in funding–$15 billion over five years–to promote prevention, treatment, and compassionate care, mainly in Africa. Many were skeptical that large-scale AIDS treatment was even possible in the developing world. But studies show that PEPFAR is estimated to have saved 1.2 million lives between 2003-2007. The most recent data show that the number of AIDS-related deaths in sub-Saharan Africa has fallen by about a third.
The Iranian regime’s reaction to the country’s Oscar victory, in which the Iranian film “A Separation” beat out Israeli contender “Footnote” for best foreign-language film, was indeed revealing, as Alana noted. But far more revealing was the fact that Israelis have been flocking to see the Iranian entry. For that one fact constitutes an eloquent rebuttal of all those who seek to paint Israel as being “undemocratic” and “anti-peace.”
Here’s how AP, after noting that “an impressive 30,000 Israeli filmgoers” have seen “A Separation” since it opened a week and a half ago, described the scene in Israel: “Ticket buyers stood in a long line on Sunday night at the Lev Smadar movie theater in Jerusalem. Omer Dilian, manager of the theater’s cafe, said ‘A Separation’ has drawn hundreds of viewers, even on weeknights … All the screenings in Lev theaters were sold out last Friday and Saturday.”
Iran declares victory over the criminal Zionist entity…at the Oscars:
Iran trumpeted the Islamic Republic’s first foreign film Oscar win Monday as a triumph over archfoe Israel – even as audiences in Israel packed theaters to watch the movie that beat their country’s entry at the Academy Awards. …
But Iranian state media used the Oscar-winning film to trumpet a success over Israel. The state TV broadcast said the award succeeded in “leaving behind” a film from the “Zionist regime,” the phrase often used in Iran to describe Israel. …
Javad Shamaghdari, head of Iran’s Cinematic Agency, portrayed the Oscar decision as the “beginning of the collapse” of Israeli influence that “beats the drum of war” in the U.S.
Sacha Baron Cohen needs to grab a notepad and take a seat, because Iran just showed him how satire is done.