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Weddings and Beheadings (2007)

Describes the work of a cameraman who has been forced to take on work filming executions of kidnapped Westeners in the Middle East.

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Ahmed
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Describes the work of a cameraman who has been forced to take on work filming executions of kidnapped Westeners in the Middle East.

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Short | Drama

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17 January 2007 (UK)  »

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£18,000 (estimated)
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Not brilliant but effective and interesting
17 February 2007 | by See all my reviews

Ahmed is a young Iraqi filmmaker who has gotten himself into a form of journalism. A friend's joke that he should put "Weddings and Beheadings" on his business card is not too far off the mark as most of his work at the minute is filming the beheading of hostages in Iraq. It is work but the emotional and moral impact of this work starts to weigh heavily on him.

An interesting and timely idea is turned into a good "Talking Heads" monologue by Hanif Kureishi, directed by Amir Jamal and delivered by actor Mimoun Oaissa. It is short and loses its way ever so slightly at the end but for the majority the film it is an engaging and touching film. Its strength is taking the beheadings from a different angle and we have Ahmed talking about them as work, describing them almost like a difficult film shoot but gradually revealing the cracks as we go along. It did this very well which is why I thought it was a shame to have a blunt "I worry about the effect on me" ending as it did feel too obvious compared to what had gone before.

Oaissa convinces throughout – which is all I needed him to do. It helps that the script mostly gives him natural dialogue to deliver but he still is good himself. It was hard to judge Jamal as director but I suppose it is to his credit that the way he did it made it feel like it was very much a video diary while also injecting other elements with impact but not intrusion. Not brilliant but effective and interesting.


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