Monday, November 19, 2012

ARGO-Is A Movie Designed?

The word "design" has for some reason always been described as how something looks. A car, a house, a dress, a building, maybe even an advertisement. It was designed. It can and does mean so much more. Here is how it is defined in the dictionary:

design |dəˈzīn|nouna plan or drawing produced to show the look and function or workings of a building, garment, or other object before it is built or made: he has just unveiled his design for the new museum.• the art or action of conceiving of and producing such a plan or drawing: gooddesign can help the reader understand complicated information | the cloister is of late-twelfth-century design.• an arrangement of lines or shapes created to form a pattern or decoration:pottery with a lovely blue and white design.purpose, planning, or intention that exists or is thought to exist behind anaction, fact, or material object: the appearance of design in the universe.verb [ with obj. ]decide upon the look and functioning of (a building, garment, or other object),typically by making a detailed drawing of it: a number of architectural students weredesigning a factory | [ as adj. with submodifier ] (designedspecially designed buildings.• do or plan (something) with a specific purpose or intention in mind: [ with obj.and infinitive ] the tax changes were designed to stimulate economic growth.
I think a good addition to that list would be a motion picture. Who of us can't list at least five movies that impacted us in some way? We all have our favorites but when you look closely at any of them, you can see that they were written, acted, filmed and edited with a "design" in mind. I would bet many of us wish we could do that with our own lives as well!

I went to see Ben Affleck's movie "Argo" yesterday based more on anything else from the recommendations of friends. I can remember all too well, the events in Iran in 1979 and how it changed in many ways America forever. Did I really want to relive it again?

It certainly isn't a touchy feeley movie, it wasn't "Twilight" and it certainly wasn't "Skyfall," a movie I had seen the week before. It starts almost as a propaganda movie listing the sins of the CIA who toppled the duly elected president of Iran in 1953. He had had the temerity to nationalize all oil companies. We toppled him and installed the Shah.

Suddenly you are at the gates of the American Embassy as the crowds shout for our heads. After all we were the demons of Satan. You see the storming of the embassy and watch six embassy staff who in processing Visas could literally put on their coats, walk out the door, through the gate and onto the streets. Brave stuff actually.

What was not so "brave" was the fact the British and New Zealand embassies turned them away. Only the Canadians would take them in and they literally lived in the home of the Canadian ambassador until they were smuggled out months later.

Actually its a movie within a movie as the CIA operative put in charge of smuggling them out when the rest of the embassy staff was still hostage, got friends in Hollywood to help create a false movie to be shot in of all places, Tehran. Cheeky, no? As tense as this movie is, and I mean fanatical revolutionaries, AK-47's drawn chasing a Swissair 747 down the runway as it takes off with our anti-heroes, has you gripping your armrests and NOT breathing. Yet, it is also a funny movie. Alan Arkin as a famous director and John Goodman as a famous make up artist, give the movie more than a few laughs as they literally "diss" Hollywood.

I guess you could research this in far more detail but the most important point of this movie is that it is true. These people were employees of the embassy, holed up for months and were smuggled out literally in front of the noses of Iran's Revolutionary Guard, a great many I learned who had been educated in the United States. Its a movie you must follow closely. A comment here, a statement there suddenly has a meaning, a purpose and you could be lost.

I trust that in many ways, Affleck didn't embellish too much. He had a story to tell, a gripping story in fact, and he let it unfold. Just the way all good design should. Be true to your story, your design. Make it your own.

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