When you’re Iran, you take any win you can get.
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran trumpeted the Islamic Republic’s first foreign film Oscar win Monday as a triumph over archfoe Israel – even as audiences in Israel packed theaters to watch the movie that beat their country’s entry at the Academy Awards.
The groundbreaking success of “A Separation,” which tells the story of a failing marriage, was cast mostly in nationalist terms by Iranian authorities amid a mounting showdown between Israel and its Western allies over Tehran’s disputed nuclear program.
Yet the high-profile attention by Iran’s Islamic leadership also represents a rare stamp of approval on the country’s movie industry, which collects awards and accolades worldwide but is often dismissed by hard-liners at home as dominated by Western-tainted liberals and political dissenters.
The Israeli film “Footnote” was in the competition against director Asghar Farhadi’s movie, which explores troubles in Iranian society through the story of a marriage in collapse. Many Iranian hard-liners objected to the themes of domestic turmoil, gender inequality and the desire by many Iranians to leave the country.