Life (and Filmmaking) During Wartime

Let this article serve to remind us that, whatever production troubles we might be enduring producing one of our films, it could be a lot rougher. From an LA Times article about Mohamed Daradji's Ahlaam, a fiction film shot in Iraq that is now screening at festivals:

The last straw: a chaotic 24-hour period in December 2004 when Daradji and several crew members achieved a sort of modern Iraq trifecta — kidnapped and bullied by Sunni Muslim gunmen, then kidnapped again and bullied by Shiite Muslim gunmen, and finally jailed and interrogated by American soldiers.

As inspiring as it is to read about Daradji's attempts to make art in the face of war, sadly, the bleaker news is this, says the article's author:

Daradji's film may end up being the last movie to come out of Iraq for a while. The country's artistic life experienced a brief resurgence in the year after the U.S.-led invasion, with musicians, painters and actors all striving to restore Baghdad's legacy as one of the Arab world's cultural capitals. That trend has died as Iraq descends into civil war, with much of the educated, artistic class fleeing the country.

When you read something like this it certainly makes even the most astounding filmmaker "war stories" (e.g., comments like Coppola's "This movie isn't about Vietnam. It is Vietnam") look pretty silly.

[via GreenCine]