Islamic Iran’s New Year gift — Hollywood blockbusters

Tehran, March 7 (DPA) State-run Iranian TV is to broadcast several Hollywood blockbusters over the Persian New Year — despite the ongoing cultural and political clash between the two states, local media reported Sunday.

Iranians will get to enjoy movies such as “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” by David Fincher and “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” by Steven Spielberg, ISNA said.

The US is often referred to as “the great Satan” in anti-western rhetoric from Tehran. The two-week New Year holidays start March 20.

Also scheduled are “Public Enemies” by Michael Mann and the comedy “Pink Panther 2” by Harald Zwart.

This is despite Iranian clergy complaining of “Western cultural invasion” or cultural plot to diverge Iranian youth from its religious beliefs towards “immoral Western culture.”

The Iranian cultural apparatus, especially the state-run TV network IRIB, must not only compete with numerous foreign channels, which Iranians can receive through illegal satellite dishes, but also the huge black market for foreign films.

The latest films are easily available as pirated copies for rock-bottom prices – one dollar for a DVD – in the black market in almost every major square in the capital Tehran.

Some of the new films also have Persian subtitles to attract a wider audience and even the vulgar parts of the film dialogues are directly translated into Farsi, something which would have been

impossible even before the 1979 Islamic revolution.

The films shown on the state-TV are censored, however, wtih even kissing scenes removed.



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