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Thursday, January 26, 2006

Slogdance 17 Iraq in Fragments

Posted by on January 26 at 22:44 PM

Let’s face it, I went to see Iraq in Fragments because I knew it was a “Seattle film.” The filmmaker, James Longley grew up on one of the islands up north, I think, and I know that he did all of his post-production in Seattle. The subject, however, is about as far from Seattle as you can get.

I wasn’t sure I wanted to see a movie about Iraq, and maybe that’s why the movie blindsided me. The best thing about seeing it at Sundance was that I finally had an answer for people who asked, “What can you recommend? What have you liked?” The reason I think the movie is so good is that it somehow manages to capture elements of life as it is lived in Iraq. Actually, in talking to Longley, I discovered he managed that by spending over two years in Iraq in making this movie. The time investment shows, in that he was around these people long enough that they started to ignore the camera and hold the same conversations that they would be having had the cameras not been around at all. Divided into three segments, I particularly liked the first segment, which reminded me of an Iraqi The 400 Blows.

Those who don’t want to wait forever for this movie to come to Seattle are in luck, as it will be the Opening Night film for the Arab Film Festival, coming to the Cinerama starting March 31. This one is highly recommended.

-Andy Spletzer
reporting from Sundance

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