7.8/10
4,928
95 user 109 critic

Control Room (2004)

Not Rated | | Documentary | 18 June 2004 (USA)
Trailer
2:09 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Prime Video

ON DISC
A documentary on perception of the United States's war with Iraq, with an emphasis on Al Jazeera's coverage.

Director:

Jehane Noujaim
9 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Startup.com (2001)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Traces the birth and failure of new media company govWorks.com.

Directors: Chris Hegedus, Jehane Noujaim
Stars: Kaleil Isaza Tuzman, Tom Herman, Kenneth Austin
Documentary | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A documentary on a Palestinian farmer's chronicle of his nonviolent resistance to the actions of the Israeli army.

Directors: Emad Burnat, Guy Davidi
Stars: Emad Burnat, Soraya Burnat, Mohammed Burnat
Documentary | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

A comprehensive look at the Bush Administration's conduct of the Iraq war and its occupation of the country.

Director: Charles Ferguson
Stars: Campbell Scott, Gerald Burke, Ali Fadhil
The Square (2013)
Documentary | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A group of Egyptian revolutionaries battle leaders and regimes, risking their lives to build a new society of conscience.

Director: Jehane Noujaim
Stars: Ahmed Hassan, Khalid Abdalla, Magdy Ashour
Documentary | Crime | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Alex Gibney exposes the haunting details of the USA's torture and interrogation practices during the War in Afghanistan.

Director: Alex Gibney
Stars: Alex Gibney, Brian Keith Allen, Moazzam Begg
Cameraperson (2016)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Exposing her role behind the camera, Kirsten Johnson reaches into the vast trove of footage she has shot over decades around the world. What emerges is a visually bold memoir and a revelatory interrogation of the power of the camera.

Director: Kirsten Johnson
Stars: Kirsten Johnson, Roger Phenix
Documentary | Biography | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

The story of America as seen through the eyes of the former Secretary of Defense under President John F. Kennedy and President Lyndon B. Johnson, Robert McNamara.

Director: Errol Morris
Stars: Robert McNamara, John F. Kennedy, Fidel Castro
Why We Fight (2005)
Documentary | History | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Is American foreign policy dominated by the idea of military supremacy? Has the military become too important in American life? Jarecki's shrewd and intelligent polemic would seem to give an affirmative answer to each of these questions.

Director: Eugene Jarecki
Stars: Gore Vidal, John McCain, Ken Adelman
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Rafea is a Bedouin woman who lives with her four daughters in one of Jordan's poorest desert villages on the Iraqi border. She is given a chance to travel to India to attend the Barefoot ... See full summary »

Directors: Mona Eldaief, Jehane Noujaim
Stars: Rafea Anad, Bunker Roy, Raouf Dabbas
Documentary | History | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

The remarkable story of The Weather Underground, radical activists of the 1970s, and of radical politics at its best and most disastrous.

Directors: Sam Green, Bill Siegel
Stars: Lili Taylor, Pamela Z, Jim Lange
Dark Days (2000)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A cinematic portrait of the homeless population who live permanently in the underground tunnels of New York City.

Director: Marc Singer
Stars: Marc Singer
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Two documentary filmmakers chronicle their time in Sonagchi, Calcutta and the relationships they developed with children of prostitutes who work the city's notorious red light district.

Directors: Zana Briski, Ross Kauffman
Stars: Kochi, Avijit Halder, Shanti Das
Edit

Cast

Credited cast:
Samir Khader ... Himself
Josh Rushing ... Himself (as Lt. Josh Rushing)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
George W. Bush ... Himself (archive footage)
Hassan Ibrahim ... Himself
Deema Khatib Deema Khatib ... Herself
Tom Mintier Tom Mintier ... Himself
Donald Rumsfeld ... Himself (archive footage)
David Shuster ... Himself
Edit

Storyline

A chronicle which provides a rare window into the international perception of the Iraq War, courtesy of Al Jazeera, the Arab world's most popular news outlet. Roundly criticized by Cabinet members and Pentagon officials for reporting with a pro-Iraqi bias, and strongly condemned for frequently airing civilian causalities as well as footage of American POWs, the station has revealed (and continues to show the world) everything about the Iraq War that the Bush administration did not want it to see. Written by Sujit R. Varma

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Different channels. Different truths.

Genres:

Documentary

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

Arabic | English

Release Date:

18 June 2004 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Central Al Jazeera See more »

Edit

Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$27,125, 23 May 2004, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$2,586,511, 31 October 2004
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Noujaim Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(TV)

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Quotes

Joshua Rushing: The night they showed the POWs and dead soldiers... it was powerful, because Americans won't show those kinds of images. It made me sick to my stomach.
[the previous night Al Jazeera had shown the same images, "equally if not more horrifying", but they hadn't affecting Rushing as much. Now he compares his reaction to the two... ]
Joshua Rushing: I just saw people on the other side, and those people in the Al Jazeera offices must have felt the way I was feeling that night, and it upset me on a profound level ...
See more »

Connections

References The Price Is Right (1972) See more »

Soundtracks

Tokyo Drum
Composed by John Swamy
Performed by Happy Ashtray
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Perception and Substance
6 March 2005 | by rmax304823See all my reviews

They are a horde of sand monkeys screaming hysterically, jumping up and down, waving their fists in the air, and they all have their heads wrapped in tablecloths stolen from Italian restaurants -- right? Well, not quite, according to this documentary from Noujaim, which focuses on the producers and staff of the much-maligned al Jaziera satellite news channel which broadcasts to the Arab-speaking world.

The reporter we get to know best, a big guy who looks like Luciano Pavarotti in makeup for a performance of Otello, and who speaks English fluently (his wife is an Englishwoman), is like most other reporters of whatever channel or nationality -- practical, cynical, and good humored. He doesn't give us an anti-American diatribe. He's way too cool for that. He's watching, for instance, the tape of a demonstration in which yelling, leaping children surround some Americans entering Baghdad and he's listening to the English translation. The children are shouting "Allah" something or other and the on screen translator comments that the kids are saying "God be with you Americans!" The reporter smiles and turns to the camera, explaining that what the kids are actually saying is, "God damn you Americans." He has a keen sense of irony.

So does another translator who is watching Bush's "Mission Accomplished" speech on live TV and giving the Arabic translation to the audience. When Bush is finally finished telling us how successful we and our allies have been, how the war has ended, the translator shuts off his mike, lowers his face and wordlessly chuckles.

At another point, after the victory, Iraqis are seen breaking into a bank, emerging which armfuls of money, which they then gleefully tear up and toss in the air. Watching this on TV an al Jaziera staff member remarks that these are Kurds and they're tearing up the dough because it's the new Dinar with Saddam's picture, and in that region they've always used the old pre-1991 currency. At the same time, elsewhere, an American newsman (from CNN, I think) is watching the scene and calls to someone to find out what it is these looters are tearing up. Is it money, or what? And when asked at a briefing to explain why these looting incidents are going on in the destroyed and chaotic cities, an American general replies that this was going on under the noses of the Iraqis themselves. (In other words, some Iraqi authority should have put a stop to it.) But the film makers are mistaken if they think that most of this isn't already known to American audiences. The problem isn't so much that American audiences were ignorant of some of these things, but that they preferred the perception to the substance. Take the concept of victory. The perception is "the liberated people" pulling down a statue of the reviled Hussein. That's part of the substance too. Another part of the substance is videotape of dead and bloody American bodies sprawled on a cement floor, a part that, like the coffins arriving at Dover AFB, we'd rather exclude. Al Jaziera showed both scenes.

I don't mean any of this to sound too simple minded. It's a thorny problem. Exactly how do you edit the substance so that what appears in the media is acceptable -- in the sense that it doesn't get you fired or killed. The journalist's code of course is to be "objective," but objectivity itself depends on perception.

A sympathetic Marine captain, seen in several interviews, doing his best to answer unanswerable questions, poses the conundrum in its most basic form. Something like, "I was watching American TV and saw shots of these bodies of dead civilians, including kids, and I thought, that's too bad. Then I ate dinner and went to sleep. Recently I was watching al Jaziera and saw shots of bodies of dead American GIs, and I really got MAD. Then I thought, maybe THEY feel the same way." The officer is a surprisingly earnest guy in an impossible job. He's trying to learn Arabic, is terribly flattered when asked to come home and have dinner with Pavarotti and his English wife. His happiness at being treated amicably is almost palpable.

If you put the wrong material on the air, you're liable to pay for it. Al Jaziera's headquarters in Baghdad was bombed during the war and one of its reporters killed. Another Arab news agency was bombed at the same time, and a hotel too. The financial reporter from al Jaziera was banned from the New York Stock Exchange too. (Not mentioned in this film.) We're going to have to wait for another documentary to explain the reasons for that, I guess.


18 of 24 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 95 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed