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Iran's last Shah was a military dictator, who sought to claim authority by invoking past Iranian emperors. Out of touch with his folks (whose interests he probably quite genuinely believed he was serving), in 1971 he held a lavish party attended by variety of heads of state, to tag the preposterous happening of the 2500-year anniversary of the rule of Cyrus the Great. Less than a decade later, he was out of power and a new, Islamic government held sway in his country. This effective movie simply shows us how the nice celebration was arranged; and how the Shah's fantasy vision of himself jarred with the experience of the folks living under his sometimes brutal rule. It's well worth watching, especially when his widow offers a mea culpa so astonishing - that she and her husband did not realise they were living in a Muslim country - that it's nice they survived in power for as long as they did, police state notwithstanding. Here's to hoping Iran can search a better future in the 21st century than it had in the last one.
In 1971 the Shah of Iran, who has been in power for three decades, threw an extravagant party to celebrate 2500 years of the Persian Empire. No expense was spared in creating an environment fit for kings, queens, and statespeople who flocked from far and wide for the occasion. A vast tented town was created in the middle of the desert around Shiraz and the ancient website of Persepolis, with grass, trees, and even birds imported from France. Chefs were brought in to make culinary delicacies complemented by the greatest wines from France (once again). The junket subsequently moved from Shiraz to Tehran, where the guests were treated to a colourful pageant with a cast of thousands and sets and costumes to match. As a celebration of Iran's illustrious history the whole happening should not be bettered.The only snag about the entire happening was that, far from being patriotic, it now revealed the Shah's excessive hubris. The self- proclaimed Lord of Kings, he practiced a reign of terror wherein dissidents were imprisoned and ruthlessly tortured, and any opposition was silenced. Although proclaiming himself an advocate of "modernization" and "westernization," bringing in the recent technologies and expertise to bring Iran up to the social and cultural lvls characteristic of the West, he was nothing more than a despot concerned solely with his own self-image.Hassan Amini's movie prompts us to reflect critically on precisely what "westernization" signifies, and how (or whether) it can be successfully introduced into non-western contexts. Many of the Shah's critics claimed - rightly, as it turned out - that his reforms were un- Islamic insofar that they took tiny or no acc of the people's religious sensibilities. Nor did the Shah pay much attention to the often pitiful lives led by the majority of his people. To become "westernized" was nothing more than a present designed to attract investment and thereby increase the Shah's private wealth still further. Hence it was hardly surprising that opposition to his reign increased, culminating in the revolution of 1979, when he was overthrown and replaced as leader by Ayatollah Khomeini.History - at least from the western perspective - has taught us to trust that the Khomeini regime was a "fundamentalist" one. This might be certainly true, but DECADENCE AND DOWNFALL suggests that, for many Iranians at least, it represented a more desirable alternative to the Shah's absolutist role, where cash was spent mostly on happenings designed to gratify the ruler at the expense of his people.
In 1971, the Shah of Iran throws a large celebration for 2500 years of the Persian monarchy. He invites all the leaders and royals of the world. He proclaims himself "King of Kings" in the reflected light of the admired biblical king, Cyrus the Great. No expenses are spared creating a tent encampment in the middle of the desert. In reality, his country is a brutal police state. His privacy of social liberalization faces opposition. There are water problems and poverty. The lavish spending galvanizes the opposition eventually leading to him leaving Iran in 1979 and the takeover by Khomeini establishing a revolutionary Islamic state.This is a BBC documentary about an necessary globe history event. Sometimes the happening itself is examined. Most of the time, it is about the Americans in the event. Usually, the cause of the happening is declared as a given. This one now spends time looking at one of the causes. While this does not impart any fresh notification to me, it does place pictures to the knowledge. It is simple to see the isolated elitism at the top of the hierarchy. My hot take is that he's one of those newly rich who throws large parties to present that he fits in his snooty rich lavish circle. It's so happens that his circle is the top circle. It is more necessary to be admired by his peers than to be admired by his people. By this time, he is surrounded by yes boys that he doesn't know the feelings of his people. Sadly, he is all too common in that power corrupts.
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