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FORGET BAGHDAD

2004 (MIFF 2004, Homelands The Middle East in Focus)

Director: Samir

Forget Baghdad Switzerland/Germany

'[Director] Samir travels to Tel Aviv to talk to older Iraqi Jews, his father's comrades, about 'what it's like to become the enemy of your own past'. His charming, rueful interlocutors shine through. Secular intellectuals, they praise the vanished cosmopolitan Iraq of their youth and bite the Zionist hand that brought them 'from a palace to a tent'. Their experience of anti-Mizrachi (Middle Eastern Jew) discrimination places them outside Israel's heroic national story, shown through chipper British newsreels and popular Israeli films.' -Village Voice

'as the provocative, densely layered film goes on, it becomes apparent that its four subjects have scarcely forgotten their pasts or their culture. They grew up in Iraq at a time when Arabs and Jews coexisted there more or less peacefully. The other third of the movie focuses on the work of Ella Habiba Shohat, an Israeli film scholar based in New York, devoted to analysing the stereotypes of Mizrahim in Israeli cinema. Once Shohat takes center stage, one of the film's themes'how the movies perpetuate and reinforce negative racial and cultural stereotypes'comes to the fore.' -The New York Times

D/S Samir P Karin Koch, Samir WS Accent Films International L English, Arabic, Hebrew w/English subtitles TD 35mm/Col/2002/112mins

Samir was born in Baghdad, Iraq in 1955. Films include: Filou (1988), Blind Date (1998), Death Hunters: To Die For (1999).

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