Tuesday, June 15, 2010

EIFF Premiere: "Son of Babylon" (2010)

This is a film that can't be considered anything less than tough to take in, but it is one that deserves your attention. It was shot on location in Iraq to tell the story of a young boy, Ahmed, and his grandmother on the search for the boy's father who may or may not have been killed as a soldier.

A bold move on director Mohamed Al-Daradji's part as other Iraq-based films like "The Hurt Locker" shot in similar locations such as Jordan rather than Iraq itself. This real-world scenery benefits "Son of Babylon" greatly as the stark, desolate and sometimes bombed out landscape of Iraq becomes a character on its own as Ahmed and his grandma make their painstaking journey through.

Taking place in 2003 shortly after the fall of Saddam Hussein, the film is political in nature but is anchored by a startling performance from the young actor playing Ahmed, Yassir Taleeb. He plays a charismatic boy whose lively spirit keeps hope alive even in the most devastating of moments in the film including one scene where they dig through one of the many mass graves in search for Ahmed's father.

It becomes a road movie of sorts but like one you've never seen before. Ahmed even picks up his own father figure along the way, a kind man named Musa. Still, though, the film's emphasis lies rightfully on the interaction between Ahmed and his grandma, an interaction that shows the bonds of tragedy and the faith in moving forward from it.

No comments:

Post a Comment