Magazine article New Internationalist

Ahlaam (Dreams)

Magazine article New Internationalist

Ahlaam (Dreams)

Article excerpt

Ahlaam (Dreams)

written and directed by Mohamed Al-Daradji (110 minutes)

This is the first Iraqi film about the American-led invasion. Its strength is its focus on the Iraqi experience, not, as have US and British films, on the occupying soldiers.

It follows three Iraqis. Mehdi is a medical student with a doting mother, who's delighted to pass his exams. Ali is a soldier. Ahlaam is a literature student who's about to marry.

The film pulls no punches in condemning Saddam's Iraq. Mehdi is denied further study because his father was an executed communist. His only options are to join the army, and, later, to work in a mental hospital. Ali is wounded in an American-British bombing raid during Operation Desert Fox. Carrying a dying friend to find help, he's charged with desertion. As punishment his ear is cut off and he's imprisoned in an insane asylum.

Ahlaam's fiancé, who's an opposition activist, is arrested at their wedding ceremony, and disappears. …

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