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Underexposure (2005)

 |  Drama, War  |  4 August 2005 (Germany)
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Iraqi filmmaker Hassan documents the lives of his friends and neighbors in the tumultuous days following the U.S. invasion of his country.


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Title: Underexposure (2005)

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Credited cast:
Samar Qahtan ...
Hassan, director
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Myriam Abbas ...
Maysoon, Hassan's wife (as Meriam Abbas)
Hussein Abdul-Kareem ...
Yousef al-Any ...
Abu Shaker (as Yousif Al-Ani)
Basim Hajar ...
Basim Hamad ...
Hayder Helo ...
Majed Rasheed ...
Muhanad Rasheed ...
Sound technician
Awatif Salman ...


Hassan is a young Iraqi documentary filmmaker in his mid thirties, who attempts to adjust his life in a materially, humanly and ideologically destroyed city. After the American invasion of Iraq he decides to start filming a documentary about Baghdad. From the very beginning he searches for his protagonists in the close neighborhood and among friends. Ma'taz is a musician and Hassan's best friend from their school days. He is now in the final stages of cancer and lives isolated in his house. Ziad is Hassan's cameraman and plays an important part as Hassan's alter ego. Nasser is a young autistic man from the neighborhood who finds a wounded Iraqi soldier but is unable to rescue him. His mother Fudha is in her late forties and spends her time between catching and selling fish at the banks of the Tigris river and the small world of Ma'taz's house. She and her son live in a hut very closely to the river. And then there is Abu Shaker, a Kurd, who has spent 25 years waiting for his sons ... Written by Enlil Film

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Plot Keywords:

iraq | baghdad iraq | See All (2) »


Drama | War



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Release Date:

4 August 2005 (Germany)  »

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This is the first feature film made on location in Baghdad after the fall of Saddam Hussein. See more »

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User Reviews

A very intriguing & well written film...
15 December 2005 | by (Dubai, United Arab Emirates) – See all my reviews

I just saw this film at the Dubai Film Festival and had to tell others about it. From the very beginning the scripts were well written and quite a poetic statement about the state of Baghdad just after the end of the war in April 2003.

On the downsides, the movie didn't quite have a plot or even a point except to try and translate what the director/writer witnessed and was cursed to try and capture. At times it felt like it reached a natural ending about 3 times, and tended to drag in long monologues at times.

Ironically, every time I started to feel bored it was those magnificently written monologues that captured you and brought you one step closer to the heart of the city and its woes.

Breathtaking at times.

Although I say - and the main character in the movie will bluntly tell you the same - this movie has not point or plot...that is exactly the point that they are trying to get across. This is now a nation that is so rich with lessons and stories to tell - yet it seems it too has been overwhelmed with the events unfolding and has itself 'lost the plot' (pun intended).

Luckily we also had the pleasure of the director's company for a very interesting Q&A after. He told us a beautiful story of how he got a hold of some of the footage shortly after the fall of Baghdad in 2003....

...They started filming about 4 months after the fall of Baghadad (started on November 2003). They found people looting the streets and wanted to capture as much of the story as possible. Then they ran into an area where they had clumsily ran into a few canisters of really old Kodak film (pardon my ignorance of the type of film, but he said they stopped using this format since 1982 and now, any film from that period is deemed underexposed...underexposed in terms of lighting). So they tracked down more underexposed film and used it to capture the story of Baghdad - giving this film its very different style and filming quality.

That's not to say though that's the only reason you should watch this film. I believe Iraq has a lot of potential in the international film scene - a wonderful story to tell.

And this film is the first testament to that. I strongly recommend you watch it.

Enjoy O.

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