Soon after the fall of Baghdad in 2003, a young and charismatic film student, Muthana Mohmed, stands in the rubble of the city's film school and explains to an American television audience ...
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Soon after the fall of Baghdad in 2003, a young and charismatic film student, Muthana Mohmed, stands in the rubble of the city's film school and explains to an American television audience that his dream of becoming a filmmaker has been destroyed - first by Saddam Hussein, then by American bombs. This brief, fortuitous appearance on MTV changes Muthana's life forever. Watching in the United States, actor/director Liev Schreiber stops channel surfing, utterly captivated. Feeling guilty about a war he opposed, Schreiber decides to extend to the unknown Iraqi the opportunity of a lifetime - to come to Prague to work on an American movie, Everything is Illuminated. On set, frustrated expectations complicate the relationship between Muthana and his American benefactors in what becomes a cross-cultural endeavor gone awry. Filmmaker Nina Davenport becomes increasingly entangled in the young Iraqi's life as his visa is about to expire and the threat of returning to Baghdad looms. Operation ... Written by
Reasonably strong and sometimes personal documentary
A young film student gets himself on MTV expressing his feelings about his dreams of becoming a film maker being shattered by first the dictator ruling over his country of birth, Iraq, and then by US that bombed it. This show gets seen by an American film maker that wants to give him a chance of a life time and invites him to come to Prague to help and learn during a film he is making there.
This documentary starts there, as the student arrives and starts helping along in the making of the film and gets introduced to all the various angles to making one. As it continues it shows the changes in the student and his surroundings and the way he deals with that.
Being a typical documentary this film doesn't have any special effects whatsoever - except for the occasional ones seen when they arrive at the scene of a film that uses them. It uses a very direct and personal approach and the maker of the documentary herself gets fairly involved with the person she is filming and that makes it very close but also very nice to watch. It's a bit like reading some ones personal diary but with them standing right next to you and commenting on what you are reading.
It is easy to judge the film student but for me that isn't the point of a film review. As a documentary I can rate this fairly highly as it uses an interesting approach that keeps one bound to the chair during its full length.
8 out of 10 film makers interrogated
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