Iraq in Fragments

FILM-IRAQ: A Glimpse of Life Under Occupation
Aaron Glantz*

SAN FRANCISCO, California, Nov 15 (IPS) – The most honoured film about the Iraq war is opening at theaters across the United States this month.

The documentary “Iraq in Fragments” by independent film-maker James Longley won best director, cinematography and editing when it opened at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. Since then, it has won awards at festivals in Chicago, Cleveland, Thessalonica, and at the Human Rights Watch film festival in New York.

What sets “Iraq in Fragments” apart from the mass of other journalism on Iraq is that it does not confront the issue of the war directly. U.S. soldiers are on the periphery of the film, as are Iraqi politicians, Ba’athist insurgents and al Qaeda terrorists.

Instead, viewers are treated to a view inside Iraqi culture and daily life under occupation. It is cinematographically beautiful, taking viewers into places as diverse as schools, barber shops, auto shops, mosques, markets and train stations.

In production notes to the film, Longley writes about entering Iraq shortly after the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003.

“I could film whatever I wanted as long as I could stay alive,” he writes, with no government minders or stringent visa requirements. “My guess was that I would have about a year before either a new authoritarian government would be put in power or Iraq would descend into civil war and become too dangerous to work in. I needed to make my film while it was still possible.”

Read about it here.

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