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BattleGround: 21 Days on the Empire's Edge (2004)

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In late 2003, two filmmakers from the Sundance award-winning Guerrilla News Network spent three weeks on the frontlines of the simmering guerrilla war in Iraq, gathering intelligence, ... See full summary »


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Credited cast:
Robert Hollis ... Himself (as Sgt. Robert Hollis)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Rana al Aiouby ... Herself
Farhan al Bayati ... Himself
Hesham Barbary ... Himself
Raed Jarrar ... Himself
Fred Rudesheim ... Himself (as Col. Fred Rudesheim)
Nate Sassaman ... Himself (as Lt. Col. Nate Sassaman)
May Ying Welsh ... Herself


In late 2003, two filmmakers from the Sundance award-winning Guerrilla News Network spent three weeks on the frontlines of the simmering guerrilla war in Iraq, gathering intelligence, dodging bullets, and capturing the untold stories of what has become the world's most covered, and misunderstood, conflict. BattleGround is an irreverent journey that will challenge the orthodoxies of Left and Right, and highlight the humanity of all sides of the conflict. BattleGround will be a critical film for anyone who wants to understand the powerful forces that are sucking America deeper and deeper into a Middle Eastern quagmire. Is Iraq our generation's "Bright Shining Lie," or is it the frontline in a global battle for national survival? Or is to some combination of both? Written by Guerrilla News Network

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Official Sites:

Guerrilla News Network



Release Date:

14 October 2004 (USA)  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

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Did You Know?


Rana al Aiouby: I will not ask an American to help me to stand up. I can stand up by myself. Why shall I ask the Americans? If they want to help someone, they can help themselves. They can build their country or they can help the poor people who live in the United States. Why do they come here to help me?
Hesham Barbary: What I'm saying is that America is here for its benefit and partially for the Iraqi's benefit.
Rana al Aiouby: So the Americans came here to help the Iraqi people? They didn't come to help the Iraqis. Everybody knows why ...
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User Reviews

Biased But Intriguing
15 October 2007 | by See all my reviews

Despite its preaching and relative lack of balance, BATTLEGROUND: 21 DAYS ON THE EMPIRE'S EDGE ranks as one of the best post-war Iraq documentaries.

With crisp footage and unfiltered comments from Iraqis and the soldiers occupying their country, it offers an intriguing close-up look at the immediate aftermath of the U.S.-led invasion. We hear accusations of abuse from tribal leaders, hypothesizing servicemen and many of the familiar allegations against the true nature of the conflict. We tour sprawling army bases and neighborhoods left devastated. Binding it all together is a long-awaited trip home by Farhan al Bayati, an Iraqi forced to flee years earlier or face the wrath of Saddam Hussein. Farhan's return is certainly compelling and gives the audience a unique perspective into the situation.

But for all its assets, one should not consider BATTLEGROUND the unbiased portrait its creators appear to claim it to be. Indeed the synopsis of the film on the official website of its distributer, Guerrilla News Network, makes mention of this "Middle Eastern quagmire." The decision that this is a quagmire has already been made by the producers, and it shows in their production. That's too bad, because documentaries like this work best without an agenda.

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