This is my last post about this movie, and is a response to those who think 300 was a good movie because it made the Iranian government angry (Isn’t that logic just brilliant!):
I think you have missed the point of the opposition to the movie: It is not about the moral of the story. True, this is a story about Good vs. Evil, just like every other story written throughout history, so this movie makes no real contribution and has nothing new to talk about.
The problem is that you could tell this story in a zillion different ways, but the references are made to true historical persons and events. So they have taken a real story and turned it into fiction, at expense of distorting a nation’s image.
Xerxes, historians suggest, was not the evil that was depicted in the movie. The Achamenid Empire established for the first time in the history of human kind, a set of rules we now call ‘human rights.’ Cyrus the Great, the founder of the empire, released the Jews and issued a decree in Babylonia inhibiting slavery, repression and imposing of Persian culture and religion on nations that embraced the Persian rule.
Spartans, on the other hand, were known to be pro-slavery. They would take their Greek neighbours as slaves, what they called ‘helots’, and broke the universal code of ethics by murdering the Persian messenger in the movie.
Sparta was never a democracy. They spent decades fighting the Athenians. Sparta was more similar to a fascist state where individuals were subject to the state’s rule, and enjoyed little freedom.
The roles in this movie can well be reversed. It were Persians who stood for freedom and fought slavery. Spartans were just a bunch of underdogs who did not want to submit to Persian rule (this is understandable, Iraqi insurgents do this against US forces now).
Persian’s were not naked, dark-skinned, ugly, barbarian, sub-human, evil creatures that the movie shows.There are real images of Xexes and Persian soldiers from that time in Persepolis and you may have a look at them in my weblog.
This movie has distorted historical events, and it is no coincidence that you see a ‘good’ ‘Western’ force fighting an ‘evil’ Persian force.
It is not just the Iranian government that is angry about this movie. This movie has managed to make every Persian, even the extreme anti-Islamic, pro-Western Persians angry, because it has distorted our historical image, and questioned our common values: freedom, justice and equality of all human beings regardless of race, religion, geneder, etc. These are the things Persians stood for in the ancient world, and it was no coincidence that almost all nations of what was known of the world at that era welcomed them.