Wednesday, December 24, 2014


By Mansor Puteh

Times have changed. Hollywood too has to accept the fact that they alone do not dictate how the cinema is appreciated, their cinema that had failed to fully develop because it was hijacked by so few who had narrow views on what it can be used for, not to chastised others but to promote better understanding amongst Americans and the rest of the world.

And how film criticism has changed so much over the years especially with the advent of the internet when almost everybody is a film critic.

But so far film criticism has got its best supporters, in the North Koreans, who was charged without they ever been put to trial for having hacked into Sony Entertainment Pictures and causing their latest Christmas offering ‘The Interview’ to be shelved.

The North Koreans have been described as ruthless and backwards when it was convenient for anyone in America to do so; yet, when hacking is mentioned, they are said to be the best in the world.

The world, and especially America, too, has a lot to learn from them just as much as the North Koreans have something to learn from the rest of the world and America.

This has come in the wake of the recent announcement by Barack Obama on the thawing of the diplomatic relations between his country and Cuba.

Yet, with the North Koreans, he has upped the ante against them, by issuing threats no one knows if they would ultimately be realized. They could be empty threats.  

When Salman Rushdie wrote ‘Satanic Versus’ which caused the ire of Imam Khomeini who ordered his book banned and he, killed.

Salman went on to be knighted. Rise Sir Salman.

V S Naipaul, the Nobel Prize for Literature winner remarked how the edict passed by Imam Khomeini was the most extreme form of literary criticism.

Maybe it was Salman’s idea of trying to try his luck with the Nobel Prize selection committee. But so far he has failed to do that.

But he should be happy being knighted, despite the protests by some Muslims who were against him being given such an honor for not doing much to develop world literature much less to use literature and the power of the world to bring peoples together.

One thing’s for certain is that if one wishes to be so knighted, he has to defame Islam.

Taslima Nasrim of Bangladesh wrote poems and some novels which are hitherto unrecognized but she was given political exile status by Sweden.

But if one wants to get the ire of the White House, one has to order the banning of a third rate Hollywood film which would otherwise had been shown and taken off from the cinemas without anyone realizing that it was there in the first place.

‘The Interview’ does not look like a funny film, despite it being touted as a comedy. Their producers cannot say or admit that it is a serious film.

There had been some films set in Iran produced by third rate producers from Hollywood; they had all gone unnoticed when Iran refused to give credence to them by totally ignoring them.

What if North Korea had also done the same, would ‘The Interview’ get its audiences all over America during the long Christmas and New Year holidays? One doubts it.

This film could even be passed by the critics in America and spawned by the viewers in the country.

But now with the brouhaha over this film, if it is finally released in whatever media, then surely, there will be some who would otherwise not want to watch it will want to do so, simply to see what it looks like.

But the difference between the Hollywood films set in Iran and ‘The Interview’ is that the later is on North Korean President Kim Jong-Un.

If the films were set in Iran was on Imam Khomeini, then surely, Iran too would not want to sit idle while the viewers in America watch it.

But the truth is that no one knows if North Korea was involved in hacking into Sony. It could be an inside job, as some has alleged.

The prime minister of Singapore’s official website had just been hacked, but a local Melayu person had been arrested, charged and sentenced.

But what about the hacking into the computer system of the Iranian nuclear plant which caused their system to be stunted for a year or two, and leaving some Iranians dead.

Worse, five Iranian scientists were assassinated by people who were on the pay of Mossad.

No film will be made on this episode, even by the Iranians themselves. Unlike the one on the attack on the Zionist athletes in the Munich Olympics in 1972 by none other than Steven Spielberg who had earlier produced films which disparage people of color in his ‘Indiana Jones’ series starting with ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’. It is pure Zionist propaganda.  

‘The Day of the Jackal’, a film on how someone using the fake name or pseudonym of ‘the Jackal’ wanted to kill French President Charles de Gaulle which was produced by Hollywood some years ago.

The film went on to be shown in America and elsewhere to muted response and no reaction from the French and their government.

Former American President George W. Bush too had been shown to have died in a feature film produced by Hollywood.

There was some debate on this when someone said that it was the first time a sitting president of their country had been given such a reception in a film.

They had only seen their former presidents being given such treatment, but not when George W. Bush was still alive and their president.

Fortunately and unfortunately, the film went on to the cinemas and was not given any hoot by the viewers in America and elsewhere.

But Kim Jong-Un is not like George W. Bush and Charles de Gaulle. And North Korea is not like America or France.

Even if Fidel Carlos of Cuba had been shown to have been assassinated by a gunman who had sneaked from America, even if it is in a film produced by Hollywood, there would have been severe repercussion by some hardline Castro supporters and diehards.

So no wonder such a film on the assassination of Castro and also Imam Khomeini has not been produced by Hollywood.

Hollywood knew better not to deal with such men and topics.

But they did not know better when Sony decided to spend US$44 million to produce ‘The Interview’ which they now regretted.

The main problem is: most Hollywood producers and directors are people who are not so well educated, including Spielberg whose knowledge of the world does not extend to very far.

No wonder, he and his colleagues look at the other cultures, history and peoples especially their honored political and other leaders through blinkered vision, using them purely for their entertainment.

They call such works, parody or satire and to express their creative urges and also to use creative license, whatever that means.

But to Sony, it means US$44 million down the drain…and to those in Old Hollywood, a slap in their faces.

North Korea won; Hollywood lost. And the White House is not trying to up their ante to try and make sure Sony and Hollywood are protected by executive order.

What a shame! Because this is purely a creative and intellectual activity. Sony and Hollywood must be brave enough to handle the matter without call ‘Papa! White House stay out of this!’

No comments: