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Thursday, March 31, 2005

Movie: About Baghdad

Posted on Thu, Mar 31, 2005 at 4:00 AM

***
Our Rating: 3.00

The documentary About Baghdad announces itself as an intentionally untidy collage of interviews that Iraqi writer/poet Sinan Antoon conducted on his first trip home since fleeing the country in 1991. The ensuing underformatted parade of talking heads won't placate any viewer who believes a movie needs to be more than just 90 minutes of footage; as a raw feed, however, it has its value, providing a soapbox for mostly unidentified citizens (and some U.S. military personnel) to spout their opinions of the current state of the nation. The commentary veers from Fox News-style arguments that deposing Saddam was worth any cost to sober proclamations that Iraq has merely been plunged from one hell into another. Antoon and his filmmaking cronies are squarely in the latter camp, badgering pro-invasion interviewees to an extent that even Michael Moore would construe as leading the witness. Still, the doc strikes a fair balance between recalling Saddam's atrocities and lamenting the country's (alleged) modern-day chaos. When it comes to the matter of the national health, there's no uniform Iraqi viewpoint, apparently. And if they can't reach a consensus, imagine how long it's going to take for the invasion issue to resolve itself here.

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