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Friday, March 31, 2006

Iraq in Cinerama

Posted by on March 31 at 11:35 AM

Tonight is your only chance on the visible horizon to catch Iraq in Fragments, a really fantastic feature documentary by Belltown filmmaker James Longley that won three big awards at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Do not miss this movie if you care about what’s happening right now in Iraq. It’s more vivid than any TV news report, and more intense than any print journalism since Anthony Shadid. I talked with James about making a documentary in a war zone (one of the scenes in the Shiite section of the film is an up-close vigilante attack on an alcohol vendor in Nasiriyah—the movie puts you right in the van with the informal militia, and right in the holding room as the vendors beg to be freed). He also spoke about the difficulty of filming Iraqi women, and the section that went missing from the final cut. You can read the interview here. (For tickets to tonight’s show, or the Iranian allegory Iron Island at 9:30 pm, also the Cinerama, show up at the venue box office an hour before the movie starts.) James will also be doing a Q&A after the movie.

Iraq in Fragments is the opening event in the Seattle Arab & Iranian Film Festival, which runs through Thursday. I haven’t seen any of the rest of the movies, but here’s what else looks intriguing:

Charles Mudede tells me Private is great. It screens Thursday April 6 at 7 pm at Broadway Performance Hall, and will open for a week-long run at the Grand Illusion the next evening.

I’m a Persian film nut, but trust me on this one: The Iranian narrative film Beautiful City has been getting very strong reviews. Says the NYT: “It’s a penetrating exploration of retribution versus forgiveness, blood money, sacrifice and the intricacies of Iran’s Islamic judicial system, which places twice as much value on a man’s life as on a woman’s and permits murderers’ death penalties to be lifted only through the request of—and in certain cases, payment from—victims’ families.” It plays Sunday at 9 pm at Broadway Performance Hall.

The Moroccan movie Le Grand Voyage road trip movie about a Westernized son who escorts his traditional father on his hajj. It reportedly contains some of the most moving images of the massive crowds of pilgrims in Mecca ever filmed. It screens tomorrow at 9 pm at Broadway Performance Hall.

For tickets for any of the movies that don’t screen tonight, see