Dramatized version of the story of CNN's Gulf War coverage featuring "The Boys from Baghdad": the battle over access, the fight to keep the technology up and running.. and the decision whether to risk their lives behind enemy lines once the bombing starts, in order to get the story of a lifetime. Written by
Dustin Hoffman stated in a 1994 interview with Larry King that he was set to play Robert Wiener in this movie, directed by Barry Levinson. He also said that Levinson was considering Jeff Goldblum for the part of Peter Arnett. See more »
Although based on a true story, the film is not a documentary. Many events have been condensed or eliminated and even some characters have been condensed or eliminated. See more »
[First lines spoken as characters in the film, preceded by title cards, archival movie dialog, and news announcements]
Baghdad is me.
You're supposed to be in Berlin.
Fuck Berlin. The wall's down. Baghdad is me, Eason.
You've never even been to Baghdad.
Close enough. Jerusalem.
I wouldn't bring up Jerusalem if I were you. It's not a point in your favor.
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"Live from Baghdad", a new production of the HBO network, tells us the lifetime story of the people who have two things - guts and judgment. The first one allows them to go to a place precisely at the same time, as other people tend to leave it at any cost. Thanks to the second, they manage to get themselves back in one piece.
The CNN producers Robert Wiener and Ingrid Formaneck have reported a million of top stories form around the World. They know for sure what kind of reports Atlanta (the headquarter of CNN) is waiting from them, and what's infinitely more important, the billions of people in front of TV screens. Like any other reporter involved in the 24-hours news production, they have only one thought in mind all the time - to find a new story to report. In August of 1990, as Iraqi invaded to Kuwait, the both of them were absolutely confident - they are about to report the story of the lifetime.
The crucial part of the movie is the natural and realistic reflection of issues and problems those people face. Many of the situations can be barely imagined by a person who has never been in a third-world country. In the countries where nobody can be sure in anything until to the last moment; where any decision can be completely changed in a blink of the eye; where a direct order from the certain people can overwrite any low; and eventually, where the only one absolute way to solve an issues is the "under-table" cash.
Even though the movie is abundantly saturated with the action scenes, the individuality and the personal skills of the main characters are highly emphasized. Along with the total dedication to the job, Ingrid Formaneck manages to remain a real woman. Strong and weak at the same time, she can support people around her, but also needs to be supported. She doesn't walk around with a machine-gun and she knows when something is too much for her. Robert Wiener is not going to leave the ashes and broken lives behind him, not even to make the Atlanta' bosses happy. The mixture of courage, persistence and caution, honesty and decency helps him and his team to achieve the incredible result. One after another, a set of small scenes is drawing the whole picture of the story. It helps us to understand the inner feelings of the people involved in these events. The way Robert Wiener stares at Saddam Houssein while attaching a microphone on his tie; a barely perceptible nod Naji Al-Hadithi (an official from the Iraq' Ministry of information) gave to Robert on his question about the fate of an American, hold by the Iraq's government.
As for the political message - it is quite independent. The movie clearly shows the Iraqi aggression on Kuwait with the followed devastation of the country, as well as specific aspects of the life under the military-driven government. However, it doesn't make any attempts of judgment or evaluation. The main focus of the movie remains on the journalist's job and their efforts to cover the story as complete as possible.
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