6.4/10
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33 user 10 critic

Voices of Iraq (2004)

Unrated | | Documentary, War | 29 October 2004 (USA)
One hundred fifty digital video cameras are distributed to everyday Iraqis, they encouraged to record their feelings about their life. They are also encouraged to pass the cameras along to ... See full summary »

Directors:

People of Iraq, Martin Kunert (uncredited)

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Cast

Credited cast:
People of Iraq People of Iraq ... Themselves
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Storyline

One hundred fifty digital video cameras are distributed to everyday Iraqis, they encouraged to record their feelings about their life. They are also encouraged to pass the cameras along to get as many Iraqis across the country to participate in this project as possible. The cameras are in circulation from April to September 2004, shortly after the American bombing of Fallujah and the fall of the dictatorial regime of Saddam Hussein, the resulting footage which is compiled as this movie. Most of the subjects talk about issues around Hussein versus the Americans, and whether their lives and of Iraqis in general are better off now or then, their thoughts about democracy in general and how it applies to Iraq, and what they want to see for their future. A few also steer clear of politics altogether, they wanting to focus on happier things in their life. As the cameras move around the country, regional differences emerge, such as the Kurds of the north, who were persecuted by Hussein, ... Written by Huggo

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Plot Keywords:

iraq | iraq war | See All (2) »

Taglines:

People in Iraq have a way to express themselves.

Genres:

Documentary | War

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

Offical site

Country:

USA | Iraq

Language:

Arabic | English | Kurdish

Release Date:

29 October 2004 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

Iraq

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$30,634, 31 October 2004, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$57,102, 14 November 2004
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Color:

Color
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Did You Know?

Connections

Referenced in Teen Wolf: The Tell (2011) See more »

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User Reviews

…or more aptly titled, 'the carefully selected voices of Iraq the producers would like you to hear'
4 November 2004 | by Zen BonesSee all my reviews

I rented this enthusiastically to see what people in Iraq have been going through in the past year. We see so little from their POV on the news. It starts out great, about 50% of the people are glad the US is there and the other 50% would be willing to go back to the pre-Hussein days. Yay, this is going to be a nice and balanced documentary! Then I started to notice an interesting trend. Even though the film proudly touts that it has no narrative voice, every now and then titles would come up telling us how some US newspaper (like The Washington Post) would say that it's too dangerous for people to go out of their homes. Then we'd see people happily bustling around doing their shopping and what not. All right, so there is a little outside narrative but okay, I'm willing to be told that it looks like the press has been exaggerating things. That's good to know. Then we see an angry crowd protesting in front of TV cameras around an armored vehicle that had just been bombed. There is a cut and then we see the same area with the smoke still rising but the crowds have now dispersed. The titles tell us that once the TV press dispersed, so did the crowd. It doesn't take a great deal of intelligence to figure out that people don't protest to each other or the walls. Why should they continue to stand around? I still tried to keep an open mind. Soon what followed was about ten minutes or so of grisly stock footage of people being tortured, mutilated and murdered by Hussein's regime. My heart broke about a million times over. I'm so glad that that sadist is gone although I can't stop thinking to myself that maybe if we'd not originally sold him so many of the arms and chemicals that he used on his people, he never would have been able to stay in power so long. Then we see a video from the insurgency (I wonder how people get a hold of it, is it sold in video stores?) showing the dead and wounded from the American bombing with chants of 'Abu Grahib! Abu Grahib!' Maddening propaganda, though my mind can't help but see a slight connection between what we are being made to see in order to feel good that we got rid of Hussein, and what they want the Iraqi people to see so they'll feel good about getting rid of us. That's war for you.

The fact is, the film is sadly an exploitation of a complicated, harrowing situation in order to help us Americans feel less guilt about the numbers of Iraqi dead in the past 21 months (which the British journal Lancet has recently estimated is around 100,000). The overwhelming majority of people interviewed in this 'documentary' are very, very cheerful but one also notices, most of them are also very well off financially and from what we can see, living in areas that have not been involved in any bombings. The people who are not cheerful understandably, are living in the areas that have been bombed but strangely, that footage ultimately amounts to about five to ten minutes of the film. I'm not saying I want to see a film all about that. I want to see a film that shows us both the best and the worst EVENLY so we can better understand the people and what it is that really needs to be done to help them. The producers made a decision to use this particular 78 minutes out of over 400 hours worth of footage, and their intentions are very clear. The film has been released exclusively through Netflix through a 'unique relationship' with Freedom Republic: The Premiere Conservative Newsforum ('unique relationship' is what they say they have with Netflix on their site). And the producer Archie Drury is quoted as saying that the film 'does make Bush look good' (and it was released just a couple of weeks before the election, gee!). Not exactly balanced! If you feel you must watch this – and I do think it is important to see the horrors of Hussein and the merits of the good people of that country, particularly the Kurds – also give yourself the opportunity to balance it with the documentary 'Control Room'. Between the two, you'll manage to get a fairly clear picture of the range of hopes, dreams, despair, worries and resilience of the people of Iraq. I just wish those who ended up on the editing room floor could have had the chance to get their voices heard as well.


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