Sunday, October 21, 2007

Meeting Resistance: documentary home movies with Iraqi insurgents speaking

A small film getting attention for the political questions it asks is “Meeting Resistance” (link)(Wellspring / Goldcrest / Nine Lives) directed by Molly Bingham and Steve Connors. Technically unpretentious 4:3 video, it shows the war in Iraq from the viewpoint of eight insurgents in various walks of life (warrior, teacher, etc). Most of the film is in Arabic with subtitles. Most of the film, all shot on location in Baghdad, is monochromatic – black and white with a greenish print tint (it would be better to make the monochrome neutral) and occasionally some red (as from flags). (Steven Spielberg had experimented with occasional color in “Schindler’s List”.) The film is being shown in a platform release, in Washington by the AMC Dupont Circle 5 (a small theater due to close soon), and the filmmakers are available after some performances.

The marketing caption says something like, imagine that your own country is invaded. That premise has been tried, as with the 1984 film Red Dawn (MGM/UA, dir. John Milius), where Communist paratroopers land in a high school athletic field in Colorado to start an “invasion.”

But that may characterize how the speakers view what is going on. They had a deeply tribal society (in which familial and blood loyalty means everything) which has been disrupted. They seem naïve about the evils of Saddam Hussein’s “reign” (A grizzled Saddam is shown after his capture in December 2003). They claim that there is no animosity between Shiites and Sunnis, something we know not to be true.

There is some discussion of how insurgency is financed. Dinars and US dollars are shown. There is some suggestion that the money comes from outside from clandestine sources, perhaps Saudi Arabia Wahhabists. The movie is general about this, an issue that has received interest in the press recently because of British litigation over a book on the subject.

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