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Mugabe Regime Says Plot of Kidman Movie Written By CIA

Zimbabwe's government finds some uncomfortable parallels between itself and the fictional nation at the center of the film The Interpreter, and according to this story from Zimbabwe's Zim Observer, believes the film is part of a campaign to bring President Robert Mugabe to heel.

September 3, 2005

Original Article (English)    

Zimbabwe's government has attacked the suspense thriller "The Interpreter," starring Nicole Kidman, as part of a propaganda campaign by the CIA that shows "Zimbabwe's enemies do not rest" and that attempts to set the agenda for Zimbabwe’s "trial" at the United Nations Security Council.

'CIA OPERATIVE' Director Sidney Pollack with Nicole Kidman

Poster for the Interpreter

The Herald [a State-run daily] also linked the film to efforts by Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer last week to have Mugabe indicted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity.

The newspaper reports that the Central Intelligence Agency is behind the release of the scandalous film titled, The Interpreter.

In the film, Kidman plays a United Nations interpreter who overhears two people discussing an apparent assassination plot against the president of a fictional Republic of Matobo. (Coincidentally Matobo is a national park in Zimbabwe). The president, Edmond Zuwanie, is accused of ethnic cleansing and plans to address the U.N. General Assembly in an attempt to forestall indictment by the International Criminal Court.

"The film just shows how careful we have to be and that we should know our enemy is very powerful," [Information Minister] Chen Chimutengwende said. "We should plan to counter Euro-American imperialism. Our enemies have resources and are determined to wage their war on the economic, social and cultural fronts."

Zimbabwe has become an international outcast in recent years because of repression and economic mismanagement by Mugabe’s regime. The government claims Western sanctions and boycotts are to blame for the country’s looming financial collapse.

The Herald said in response to the film that the U.S.-based Friends of Zimbabwe, an African-American coalition, would march to New York‘s Dag Hammskjold Plaza in support of Mugabe when he addresses the U.N. General Assembly later this year.

Dr. Tafataona Mahoso, Chairman of the Media and Information Commission, dismissed the film as cheap American and Rhodesian propaganda.

"It is a film to review alongside the ‘Gods Must Be Crazy,’ as it is typical of the propaganda format. This is typical of U.S. tactics used during the Cold War."

Veteran film-maker Sydney Pollack is adamant that he did not use Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe as the blueprint for new movie - he took his inspiration from Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.

Secretary-General Kofi Annan is on record as having agreed in principle to allowing producer Sydney Pollack to film the movie inside the United Nations headquarters in New York, the first time in any UN officials' memory that it has allowed a feature film to be made in there. Mr. Annan had originally turned the idea down, saying the filming would be too disruptive. But he changed his mind after a visit by Pollack, who showed him the script, U.N. officials said. Pollack promised to film only on weekends and not to interrupt U.N. business. Shooting began on March 1.

"It is, in effect, a free commercial for the U.N. - a thriller made by a top-notch filmmaker with a stellar cast," said Shashi Tharoor, the U.N. communications chief. "It will reach far more millions of people than any public relations initiative I could have come up with. And we are satisfied that the values in the story reflect our principles. "

Apparently the U.N.'s decision is second-time lucky for Kidman. The U.N. refused to allow her and co-star George Clooney to film their 1997 movie, The Peacemaker, inside the U.N. building. Wesley Snipe's 2000 movie, The Art of War, was also refused access and most famously, Alfred Hitchcock was refused entry inside the U.N. halls for his 1959 Cary Grant film, North by Northwest.

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