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What a New Film Gets Right About the Iranian Hostage Crisis



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The specter of history looms large over the contentious relationship between Iran and the United States. As the beginning of the Iran hostage crisis in 1979 just passed its 40th anniversary, Oscar-winning filmmaker Barbara Kopple has waded into the topic with “Desert One,” a documentary on the botched U.S. operation to rescue the hostages, which is having its New York premiere this week at the Doc NYC festival.
The film features interviews with Jimmy Carter, Walter Mondale, then-CIA official Robert Gates, some of the 52 hostages and many of the soldiers who survived the disastrous Operation Eagle Claw — and the families of the eight men who didn’t. On the Iranian side, there are two crucial interviews, one with Faeze Moslehi, a female hostage-taker, and the other with a passerby who, as a child, happened to be traveling on the desert road where the American helicopters landed to start their ill-fated operation.

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