What's a good way to keep people from protesting in the streets over a corrupt and demoralizing election? By showing them movies! Iran will be broadcasting the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy in an effort to keep people indoors.
The state television network Channel Two is running a marathon of the fantasy film trilogy in the coming days, hoping that its various messages and themes will pacify a rebellious populace. A reporter in Iran speculates about the choice to Salon:
Who picked this film? I start to suspect that there is a subversive soul manning the controls at Seda va Sima, AKA the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting. It is way too easy to play with the film, to draw comparisons to what is happening in real life. There are the overt Mousavi themes: the unwanted quest and the risking of life in pursuit of an unanticipated destiny. Then there is the sly nod to Ahmadinejad. Iranian films are dubbed (forget the wretched dubbing into English in the U.S.; in Iran dubbing is a craft) and there are plenty of references to "kootoole," little person, the Farsi word used in the movie for hobbit and dwarf. "Kootoole," of course, was, is, the term used in many of the chants out on the street against President Ahmadinejad. He is the "little person." ("And whose side are you on?" Pippin asks the ancient, forest-dwelling giant named Treebeard. Those watching might think the answer is Mousavi, since Treebeard is decked out in green.)
We're putting a call into New Line to see if Iran even has the rights to put the flicks on state television.