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Anti-Stoning Filmmakers Bashed for 'Inflating' of 9/11, Crucifixion of Jesus

By Tim Graham (Bio | Archive)

June 27, 2009 - 10:34 ET 


Like The New York Times, the Washington Post really hated the new movie The Stoning of Soraya M., which depicts sexist injustice under Islamic Sharia law in Iran. Post critic Jan Stuart complained Friday:


Iranian American director Cyrus Nowrasteh, co-writing with wife Betsy Giffen Nowrasteh, has amplified the basic elements of Soraya's story into the worst kind of exploitive Hollywood melodrama, presented under the virtuous guise of moral outrage.



From there, Stuart then condemned how the filmmakers had a reputation for "inflating" historical events like 9/11 and the crucifixion of Jesus:


The creative team has ample experience in inflating true-life tragedies entailing really bad deaths. Nowrasteh scripted the odiferous 2006 miniseries "The Path to 9/11"; chief co-producer Stephen McEveety had worked in a like capacity for the clinically violent "The Passion of the Christ."



What, precisely, does that mean? How do you "inflate" historical events like 9/11? Would the Post accuse a filmmaker of "inflating" the Holocaust for moral outrage? Or the killing of gay man Matthew Shepard, who many activists quickly compared to Jesus? The political ideology of the critic is obvious, and drowns out any aesthetic judgment they might offer, even if one could argue that as art, these films were overwrought. The Stoning of Soraya M. could certainly be hard to sit through, as Stuart insisted:


They've worked up a lollapalooza of a climax, stretching Soraya's death march to a stomach-churning half-hour, accentuated by the doom-laden soundtrack of children clacking rocks, a tearfully eloquent last speech for Soraya and tight close-ups of Soraya's final agony that lend literal new meaning to "the money shot." Nowrasteh milks the victim's horrific demise with a relish that unintentionally implicates the audience in the rabid voyeurism of the attending villagers.



What the Post critic seems to imply is Westeners shouldn't be "rabid" in feeling any moral superiority to Islamic justice, and that the audience should feel dirty, not morally outraged, for taking in the film. (The Post misspelled the lead character as "Suraya" throughout the review, including the headline in Friday's Weekend section.)


Brent Bozell wrote on The Stoning of Soraya M. last month.


—Tim Graham is Director of Media Analysis at the Media Research Center.




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Liberals, Oliver Stone and art critics - ACA

June 27, 2009 - 11:20 ET by acaiguana

I haven't seen the movie.


I've been reading quite a bit about it here and there.


I offer an observation about the culture of art, relying on that old tried definition that 'culture' reflects a value system and one could even say, culture is the value system.


Art reflects the culture as surely as the value system reflects those rules which provide an economic set from which to derive our food.  We don't throw rocks at rabbits anymore; we appear to throw rocks at differences in values.


The marketplace in theatre is broken.  I know, I'm supposed to be enlightened and excuse bad theatre as being 'ahead' of its time.  If it is well acted, I'm supposed to applaud the audacity of the storyline.


I suppose if economics drove theatre, none of the Left Wing movies made over the past eight years would have been made.  The fatal flaw in criticism of film and art is the hubris of the critic.  These people labor under the misapprehension that they are to be taken seriously.


Stone's political films, for example, have been dismal failures as economic ventures over the past 10 or so years.  On the other hand, he is guilty of perpetuating misconceptions of economics on the uneducated masses.  Since he himself appears to be ignorant of economic realities, such as culture, I forgive him in his self-importance.


Whenever a film such as the Stoning of Soraya M is made, the Left sees its success and cannot help but smugly saying, "Gee look how ignorant and primitive the audience must be."


Misspelling the main character's name is simply a snide comment on the Post's part, or a reflection that the reviewer hasn't seen the film either.


I'm happy to let the marketplace make its statement to these people's cultural values.




Quoted from: 'Acaiguana notes from the Underground' (Soon to be at theaters near you)


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June 27, 2009 - 11:43 ET by easygoer

Well, the critic might have hated it, but, so far, all the great unwashed commenting on it loved it. Reminds me when I was young and One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest came out and the Newsday critic gave it two stars; said it was overwrought. I've never paid much attention to them since then and now it's worse because it's so agenda driven. Just look at Frank Rich. The guy goes from a film/theatre critic to being one of the most "respected" political columnists at the NY Times. And they wonder why they're hemmoraghing readers. I generally don't like graphic violence (most of it today is so gratuitous) but I want to see this flick.


June 27, 2009 - 12:21 ET by BKeyser

Sounds to me like this critic found the images too graphic and incendiary relative to the real-life situation or conditions as they may have existed at the time. Almost as though the images did not adequately represent what really happened, and only served to exacerbate the negative emotions of the viewer. I don't know what "really" happened, though the critic seems to indicate that it was not so severe as the images might imply.


I wonder how she feels about the release of the Guantanamo photos...


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no surprise

June 27, 2009 - 12:23 ET by candance

Last year the NY Times didn't even bother researching Veggie Tales before writing a review, and they ended up sounding stupid because they didn't know the premise of the characters.


They really don't care if they spell stuff wrong or miss important details when it comes to conservative media. But give them some anti-American movie, and they'll obsess over every past project of all the actors and every subtle detail contained in the movie. 


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I can't wait until the

June 27, 2009 - 12:23 ET by G. May

I can't wait until the unholy alliance between the left and Islam comes home to roost.


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Manda Ervin on Soraya

June 27, 2009 - 14:25 ET by slickwillie2001

Great article on the movie at The Corner, by an Iranian woman: The Stoning of Soraya M. and Trust-Fund Babies:


Trust-fund babies are the idiot liberals that go on government-run tours of Iran and other muslim countries and come back to report how wonderful everything is.


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exactly slick

June 27, 2009 - 15:57 ET by candance

I once had a British person tell me they had taken a vacation in Cuba, seen a lot of beautiful beaches, and couldn't understand why Americans said it was a dump.  


Exploituve Hollywood Melodrama

June 28, 2009 - 07:26 ET by teeaa01

Um, gee like Fahrenheit 911, An Inconvenient Truth......etc., etc

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