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Tribeca Film Festival

Online Dailies Coverage of the Tribeca Film Festival.


Reflections On The Iraq War At Tribeca FF


Sunday, April 27-----Even in the cloistered environment of a film festival, the sounds of war are never too distant or far from view. At this year's Tribeca Film Festival, a number of films look at the implications of the highly unpopular conflict for which, to coin a term of one of last year's excellent documentaries on the subject, seems to have "no end in sight".

In the film BAGHDAD HIGH, from UK directors Ivan O'Mahoney and Laura Winter, four classmates at an embattled high school in the center of the war zone are given cameras to document their experiences. Each high schooler represents a different ethnic group and perspective (a Kurd, a Christian, a Shiite and a Sunni). The film offers a rare, unvarnished and firsthand view of what it is like growing up in a city where sectarian violence rages right outside the classroom window. How these young people excel at their studies and have hopes in the future may say more about the future of this embattled country than all the political speeches of their (and our) leaders.

In THE OBJECTIVE, American director Daniel Myrick (one of the collaborators on the ground-breaking indie THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT) brings a you-are-there sense of suspense and unease to this story about a precarious CIA mission in Afghanistan. What is revealed on camera or just off camera makes for one treacherous ride. The film has its world premiere at the Festival.

Making a  film is a kind of war in itself. But making it under the conditions of war adds a note of tension, surrealism and dread that no film crew would embrace knowingly. However, in WAR, LOVE, GOD AND MADNESS, by director Mohamed Al-Daraji, making a feature film in Iraq in 2003 was a unique shoot, to say the least. This harrowing account of the peril-filled ordeal gives a unique insight into the dysfunctional system in place in a country where all systems have broken down and violence lies behind every corner.

Sometimes over satire is even more effective to communicate the absurdities of war than any hard-hitting documentary. In the American feature film WAR, INC., director Joshua Seftel uses overt symbolism in a tale of a professional hit man who is sent to a fiction war-torn Middle Eastern country where the United States is waging its first fully outsourced war. John Cusack (who also co-wrote and produced) heads a sublime cast that includes his sister Joan Cusack, Marisa Tomei, Hilary Duff and Sir Ben Kingsley. In this biting satire on the "privatization" of the army, it is clear that the war profiteers are the only ones who gain from such armed conflict and are the ones who want to prolong it for as long as there is a chance for "ka-ching". War and corporations were made for each other, as this lively if dispiriting comedy makes abundantly clear.

Tribeca adds fuel to the Iraq debate with this group of unique and disparate films. Take note, Hilary and Barack.

Sandy Mandelberger, Tribeca FF Dailies Editor


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About Tribeca Film Festival

Online Dailies Coverage of the Tribeca Film Festival, April 17-28, 2013


The Tribeca Film Festival brings together local, national, and international talent to provide the New York City, downtown community with five days of screenings, educational workshops, and various special events.
Live coverage with dailies from Lia Fietz, Suzanne Lynch, Claus Mueller, Maria Esteves 


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