News / Arts & Entertainment

Affleck Premieres Critically-Acclaimed 'Argo' in Washington

Director and actor Ben Affleck plays around while posing for photographers at the premiere of his film Argo in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012.
Director and actor Ben Affleck plays around while posing for photographers at the premiere of his film Argo in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012.
TEXT SIZE - +
Mana Rabiee
— U.S. and Canadian leaders commemorated their two countries’ close ties and cooperation this week at the premiere of a movie about the 1979 Iran hostage crisis in which 52 American diplomats were held captive for more than a year.

The movie, Argo, opens in the United States this weekend and its director and star, Ben Affleck, introduced it at a private showing at the Canadian Embassy.

The film is based on the true story of a covert Central Intelligence Agency operation to rescue six Americans who managed to escape when Islamist demonstrators took over the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979 and captured most of its diplomats. The six who escaped secretly took refuge in the home of the Canadian ambassador.

Affleck, who also wrote the screenplay, plays Tony Mendez, a CIA “exfiltration” specialist who gets the six American escapees out of the country by having them impersonate a Canadian film crew scouting movie locations in Iran.

"This movie is about cooperation [and] the great things that are possible with diplomacy,” Affleck said at a private cocktail reception at the Canadian Embassy before the film’s screening.

Affleck was addressing several hundred guests at the embassy, including members of Congress, CIA officials and former Tehran embassy hostages, including two of the six portrayed in the film.

Bob Anders, one of the two, said the most difficult part of the ordeal came several days after their escape from the U.S. Embassy when he and the others were in hiding before contacting the Canadians.

“We were kind of lost and didn’t know what to expect,” Anders, now in his sixties, said in an interview. “That’s when I called my Canadian friend and said ‘We’re hiding out; we don’t know what to do,’ and he says ‘Well, come on, you can stay with us.’ So I said, ‘I’ve got…other people with me’ and he said ‘That’s OK, bring them over.”

The highlight of the evening came when Affleck introduced several of the real-life people portrayed in the film. In addition to the former hostages, they included Canada’s ambassador to Iran at the time, Ken Taylor, and his wife, Pat. Affleck said both had put themselves at “great risk” by agreeing to provide the Americans safe haven when others had refused.

“One of the more beautiful aspects of [this story] is that this is about the Canadians who stepped up,” said Affleck. “There were folks that didn’t want to take in our people who escaped the embassy. Governments, some friends of ours, who said ‘You know what? This is inappropriate for us. We don’t want to absorb this risk.’ The Canadians did absorb this risk.”

The film director called the episode a “very special turning point in diplomacy,” and said it served as a “model in international relations.”

“It demonstrates, as well the danger that diplomats put themselves in for our lives every day. We were reminded of this tragically recently in Benghazi,” Affleck said, referring to U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others who were killed in the attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya last month.

Among the other guests at the event were CIA director David Petraeus and former Tehran hostages William Daugherty and Rocky Sickmann, both of whom were held by the Iranians for the entire 444 days of what came to be known as the Iran hostage crisis.

You May Like

Abuja Blast Impacts Lives, Livelihoods

Officials say they are looking at ways to help bombing victims and boosting security More

Cambodia Technology Adviser Criticizes Cybercrime Draft Law

Phu Leewood says current criminal code can be used to prosecute offenders and that there is no need for a separate law More

Photogallery A Year Later, Boston Remembers Deadly Marathon Bombings

City pauses to honor victims and salute emergency workers who came to their assistance in frantic moments after blasts More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Border Crossings

With over five million records sold worldwide, singer-songwriter MIKA is best known for his hit single “Grace Kelly.” MIKA joins "Border Crossings" to perform live and to talk with host Larry London about his latest CD “The Origin Of Love.”