Friday, November 02, 2012


Argo / Argo. US © 2012 Warner Bros. Pictures. PC: GK Films. P: Ben Affleck, George Clooney, Grant Heslov. D: Ben Affleck. SC: Chris Terrio - based on the article "Escape from Tehran" by Joshuah Bearman in Wired magazine. DP: Rodriego Prieto - Camera: Arri Alexa Plus, Hawk V-Lite, V-Plus, V-Series, Zeiss Super Speed, Ultra Prime and Angenieux Optimo Lenses; Arricam LT, Hawk V-Lite, V-Plus, V-Series, Zeiss Super Speed, Ultra Prime, Angenieux Optimo and Canon Lenses; Arricam ST, Hawk V-Lite, V-Plus, V-Series, Zeiss Super Speed, Ultra Prime, Angenieux Optimo and Canon Lenses; Bolex H16 REX-5, Kern-Paillard Switar and Angenieux Lenses; Canon 1014 AZ - Laboratory: EFilm (digital intermediate) - Film negative format: 16 mm (Kodak Vision3 250D 7207, Vision3 500T 7219), 35 mm (Kodak Vision3 250D 5207, Vision3 500T 5219, Vision2 500T 5260), 8 mm (Kodak Vision3 500T 5219, Ektachrome 100D 5285), Digital - Cinematographic process: ARRIRAW (2.8K) (source format) (some scenes), Digital Intermediate (4K) (master format), Hawk Scope (anamorphic) (source format), Super 16 (source format) (some shots), Super 35 (source format) (some scenes), Super 8 (source format) (some shots), Techniscope (source format) (some scenes) - Printed film format: 35 mm (partial blow-up) (Fuji), D-Cinema - Aspect ratio: 2.35:1. PD: Sharon Seymour. AD: Peter Borck, Deniz Göktürk. Set dec: Jan Pascale. Cost: Jacqueline West. Makeup: Kate Biscoe. Hair: Kelvin R. Trahan. M: Alexandre Desplat. S: Erik Aadahl. ED: William Goldenberg. Casting: Lora Kennedy. C: Ben Affleck (Tony Mendez), Bryan Cranston (Jack O'Donnell), Alan Arkin (Lester Siegel), John Goodman (John Chambers), Victor Garber (Ken Taylor), Tate Donovan (Bob Anders), Clea DuVall (Cora Lijek), Scoot McNairy (Joe Stafford), Rory Cochrane (Lee Schatz), Christopher Denham (Mark Lijek), Kerry Bishé (Kathy Stafford), Kyle Chandler (Hamilton Stafford), Chris Messina (Malinov). Loc: California, Istanbul. In English and Farsi. 120 min. Released by FS Film with Finnish / Swedish subtitles by Meri Tuomi / Jenny Björk. Viewed at Tennispalatsi 9, Helsinki, 2 Nov 2012 (day of Finnish premiere).

Argo is also the name of the fake science fiction movie-in-the-movie.

Tagline: "The movie was fake. The mission was real."

Official synopsis: "Based on true events, Warner Bros. Pictures’ and GK Films’ dramatic thriller “Argo” chronicles the life-or-death covert operation to rescue six Americans, which unfolded behind the scenes of the Iran hostage crisis—the truth of which was unknown by the public for decades. On November 4, 1979, as the Iranian revolution reaches its boiling point, militants storm the U.S. embassy in Tehran, taking 52 Americans hostage. But, in the midst of the chaos, six Americans manage to slip away and find refuge in the home of the Canadian ambassador. Knowing it is only a matter of time before the six are found out and likely killed, a CIA “exfiltration” specialist named Tony Mendez (Affleck) comes up with a risky plan to get them safely out of the country. A plan so incredible, it could only happen in the movies."

An entertaining thriller based on a true story, well made, with a sympathetic cast. The account of the contribution of Hollywood producers to a real-life world political crisis is reminiscent of Wag the Dog, although Argo is not a satire. The dignified and realistic account of U.S. diplomats feels authentic and credible.

Interestingly, there is an attempt at a balanced view in the backstory to the Iranian revolution. The prologue goes back to Mohammad Mosaddegh who nationalized Iran's oil reserves. Britain and the USA plotted the overthrow of the democratically elected Mosaddegh in 1953, and with British-American support the Shah Mozammed Reza Pahlavi started to rule tyrannically, crushing opponents violently via the SAVAK intelligence agency. After the revolution rebels demanded the USA to send back the Shah to face a trial for his deeds.

The anger of the Iranian people is seen as based on very concrete reasons: the close ones of many have been killed or tortured by SAVAK.

Also the end credit sequence is impressive with a split-screen comparison montage of the real and the fake images of the thrilling story.

No problem with the visual quality of the presentation.

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