Baghdad Exposed


The first Iraqi-made movie in more than a decade (according to the AP) is in production. Director Odai Rasheed is making Gheir Saleh (Under Exposure) with no money and a cache of outdated stock he found in the culture ministry's storeroom.

The film focuses on the lives of three characters at the time of the US entry to Baghdad. To economize, reports the AP, Rasheed is having his actors address their thoughts to the camera, apparently because he doesn't have enough stock to risk shooting multiple takes of dialogue. Sounds like Jean-Luc Godard circa 1970, and in fact Rasheed promises that, "My film will be outside all commercial prerequisites."

Iraq never made many films. Among the reasons: The limited market; other Arabs have difficulty understanding Iraqi colloquial dialect. However, there's at least one Baathist-era curiosity that ought to be worth tracking down, the 1983 Clash of Loyalties, a 3-hour extravaganza about colonialism and independence that starred Oliver Reed.