Exactly two weeks after the Trump administration said it was “officially putting Iran on notice” comes the news that an Iranian filmmaker has made a cg-animated feature about Iranian forces defeating the American military. The film, Battle of The Persian Gulf, is scheduled to open in Iranian cinemas later this month.

Director Farhad Azima, 35, told the news organization Reuters that the timing of his film is coincidental and that the crew at Fatima Zahra Animation Studios has been working on the project for four years. Still, he recognized the good fortune of wrapping the film just as the United States has escalated its saber-rattling toward Iran. “I hope that the film shows Trump how American soldiers will face a humiliating defeat if they attack Iran,” Azima said. “They all sink and the film ends as the American ships have turned into an aquarium for fishes at the bottom of the sea.”

The film, according to Azima, wasn’t intended as a response to the “warmongering” Trump, but rather to the consistent stream of American entertainment that portrays Iranian people in a negative light. Its story begins when the U.S. Army and Navy attack an Iranian nuclear reactor and other strategic locations, and then continues by showing Iran’s dominant response. “Hollywood has created many films against Iran,” he said. “There are many computer games in which U.S. soldiers conquer our country. We made this film as an answer to that propaganda.”

Here is a clip from the film:

Azima explained to Reuters that the feature was self-funded and did not have any input from the Iranian government, though the lead character in the film is modeled on the current military general Qasem Soleimani, who leads the Revolutionary Guards, the branch of the Iranian military that is featured in the film. “Our animators are not working for money, but for their beliefs and their love of the country,” the director said. “Thank God, everyone is surprised that we’ve managed to create such high-quality production under this poor condition.”

It should be pointed out that the film’s game-like graphics are not representative of the quality of work being produced by other contemporary Iranian animation studios. At least two other animated features are being released this year in Iran: Release from Heaven and The Last Fiction, both of which have much higher production values.

Further, these other features, along with the vast majority of tv and web animation we see coming out of Iran, do not contain the kind of incendiary rhetoric seen in Battle of The Persian Gulf. In these ways and others, Battle can be seen as an outlier in Iran’s animation scene, though a fascinating one at the intersection of politics and animation art.

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Amid Amidi

Amid Amidi

Amid Amidi is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Cartoon Brew.

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