“Argo” - Forty years after the Iran Hostage Crisis

On 23rd September 2019, the English Advanced Course set off for the “Astor Film Lounge” to watch the 2012 historical drama movie “Argo” following an invitation of the US Embassy in Berlin.

The 1979 Iranian revolution overthrew the US-backed monarchy in Iran and replaced the government with an Islamic Republic. In the same year, the American embassy in Tehran, the capital of Iran, was occupied by Iranian revolutionaries, mostly students, and several American nationals were taken hostage.

 “Argo” was based on the six staff members of the embassy who evaded capture by finding shelter in the residence of the Canadian ambassador. The plot revolves around the CIA agent Tony Mendez who works together with Hollywood producers to set up a fake movie called “Argo”. He plans to escape together with the six staff members by pretending to be a Canadian film crew looking for a location to film.

After watching the movie, we had the opportunity to ask the former US diplomat Kathryn Koo, one of the two women who were held hostage in the embassy, questions about her experiences during the hostage-taking. She was released together with the other 51 remaining hostages after 444 days of captivity.

“Argo” was an incredibly tense and well realized movie. It almost made you feel like you were there at times. All of us really enjoyed the movie and the great acting. The following talk with the eyewitness Kathryn Koo was a unique opportunity that gave us another even more authentic perspective on the whole hostage-taking.

Still, the whole screening seemed to be a bit one-sided. And this is not a critique of “Argo” per se, it was certainly well-made, but the movie as well as the former diplomat simply focused on the American perspective, while the Iranian perspective seemed to receive little attention. Thus, a very good incentive to research the other point of view, too.

Thank you for an interesting afternoon.

Julian Petrat / Annika Reissenberger (LK Englisch, Kriener)