Friday, September 21, 2007

Happy New Year

I heard a fascinating story on the radio the other day: there's a TV drama on the air in Iran right now called "Zero Degree Turn" that tells the story of the love between an Iranian-Palestinian Muslim man and a French Jewish woman in Paris during World War II. The story centers on the Iranian's attempts to help his lover and other Jews flee the Nazis and escape to safety in Tehran. The drama is currently the most popular TV show in Iran.

I had no idea, but this story is based on the true story of an Iranian man named who helped more than one thousand Jews obtain Iranian visas to escape the Nazis:
[The show's creator,] Mr. Fatthi, 48 years old, is a well-known director of historical fiction for television. In the past, his work has focused on Iranian history. But he also dabbles in comedy, winning international critical acclaim two years ago for a hit feature, "Marriage, Iranian Style."

He says he came up with the idea for "Zero Degree Turn" four years ago as he was reading books about World War II and stumbled across literature about charge d'affaires at the Iranian embassy in Paris. Abdol Hussein Sardari saved over a thousand European Jews by forging Iranian passports and claiming they belonged to an Iranian tribe.
WSJ. More on Sardari, known as the "Schindler of Iran".

1 comment:

MK said...

The WSJ story is a bit shallow and uncritical on this. Apparently, Zero Degree Turn subtly, but quite actively, promotes a different type of Holocaust-denial argument. The show perpetuates the myth that certain Jewish Zionists collaborated with Hitler in order to realize their desire for a Jewish state. In doing so, they supposedly even killed many fellow Jews in cold blood, vor allem those who opposed their political ambitions. This aspect is being underscored in Zero Degree Turn far more than the extermination of Jews by the Nazis.

There was a good article on this in Spiegel a while back:,1518,504864,00.html

There doesn't seem to be an English version, but maybe you can babelfish it.

That being said, even so, the series is quite taboo-breaking for Iranian state television. Not only because it does thematize the Holocaust. But also because of flirts with blond Parisian women, nightclubs, drunk Iranians and some touches of femninism.