"The Iran Job" : Can hoops bridge the cultural divide?

Broadcast Wednesday, March 5th, 10-11 a.m. Central (1500 GMT) on NoLiesRadio.org, archived here. Note: TruthJihad.com subscribers can listen to shows on-demand before they are broadcast - and also get free downloads! If you are a subscriber, just log in to the members area of TruthJihad.com and go to the "Private Blog" to get early access to the shows. 

The Iran Job is a brand-new film (its DVD release will happen almost simultaneously with this broadcast) following the adventures of Kevin Sheppard, an American basketball player who becomes a star in Iran.

Though I'm not quite down with its cultural politics, this is an outstanding documentary: Well-conceived, beautifully-crafted, and blessed with strong "reality performances" from the charismatic Sheppard and co-stars. It's great fun watching the cultural communications and miscommunications as Sheppard does to the A.S. Shiraz basketball team what Kareem Abdul-Jabbar did to the 1970 Milwaukee Bucks: He takes a bunch of young far-from-champs and turns it into a winning team.

The part I'm not down with is that this film, like virtually everything produced in English about Iran, blithely takes for granted the superiority of Western consumer-culture hedonism over Islam. Two of the things I love about Iran are the modesty-demanding dress code - frankly, I wish it were even more demanding - and the ban on alcohol, by far the most destructive drug in existence with the possible exception of nicotine. (I'm not saying every country needs follow these norms; but does the whole globe have to become an openly drunken & degenerate McWorld?)

The Iran Job, which tells its story from an entirely "Iranian gusano" point of view that would certainly resonate among the privileged elite of North Tehran and Los Angeles (but maybe not with the less-privileged Iranians of South Tehran and Qom and Mashhad and the provinces) not only entertained and impressed me, it also pissed me off. The result was an appreciative but occasionally prickly interview with The Iran Job's writer-director-cinematographer Till Schauder and producer Sara Nodjoumi. Check it out!

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