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 ... See full summary »
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
This is a small-ish film but I think it's wonderful and quite a leap from many docs. Not only is the director/producer/editor/photographer is the same person and is behind the camera, the events that unfold make her also an actress - in her own film, which is the self-conscious representation of the diary of Muthana. The movie works in a few levels, and the viewer is so left to make up his/her own mind with regards to the person in the centre of it all. Beyond anything, it's a candid personal portrait of someone who is fighting for his life (but also for the Easy Life) - and does so in the most unlikeable way. We sympathise yet we don't feel empathy towards Muthana. And that says it all - he is a unique and unrelentlessly himself, even if it's not the right person to fit the mold we expect. I'm curious where he is now... Anything can happen with this guy...!
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