“Iraq in Fragments” – presented at Vancouver Film School
Its a hard thing to keep up with all the publishing isn’t it? Back in February 2009 I presented James Longley’s “Iraq in Fragments” at our weekly Tuesday night gathering at the Vancouver Film School theatre. Created by Dave Rocnin and Kryshan Randel the “VFS Movie Night” was conceived to introduce significant cinematic works both new, old and obscure to the passionate movie making community here in Vancouver. Knowing that many of these magnificent films will almost never be seen on the big screen for years to come – if ever – this was an opportunity to make it happen and to talk afterwards about what makes these great films succeed with a passionate articulate group of artists and filmmakers.
So it was that I brought Iraq in Fragments to the attention of my colleagues, but not before I tried to contact James Longley about his film. I am not going to spoil the viewing for those of you who have not seen this work (because I recommend it highly) but I had one important question for James – how dangerous was it in Iraq? I actually did not even expect to hear from him but amazingly James emailed me from Iran where he is working on his next feature film (see the accompanying photos in this post which he sent me).
The fact is being in Iraq after the US invasion had to be dangerous but if you watch this movie you dont sense that the access James got put him in danger and this is a remarkable testament to the camera work and filmmaking. Really watch the movie.
In James’ own words:
“Of course my life was in danger while filming in Iraq — but that is not unusual given that Iraq was the most dangerous place in the world at the time of filming. Everyone’s life was in danger.
The same thing was certainly true in the Gaza Strip, where I made my film feature-length documentary; I was shot at by Israeli soldiers twice while filming there. This sort of thing just comes with the territory, as you know.”
Anyways go rent this movie! Below you you can read an intro and some trivia.
*Winner of 12 major international awards including 3 Documentary awards at Sundance (2006) which has never happened before including Best Documentary Cinematography, Best Documentary Directing, Best Documentary Editing.
*”….a one man production of startling audacity and aesthetic provocation. ….If Longley’s astonishing feat of poetic agitation has a precedent in the entire history of documentary, I am not aware of it.” Rob Nelson – The Village Voice
“An opus in three parts, Iraq in Fragments offers a series of intimate, passionately felt portraits: A fatherless 11 year-old is apprenticed to the domineering owner of a Baghdad garage; Sadr followers in two Shiite cities rally for regional elections while enforcing Islamic law at the point of a gun; a family of Kurdish farmers welcomes the US presence, which has allowed them a measure of freedom previously denied.
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More info on Iraq In Fragments.
All images are Copyright James Longley.