OPERATION FILMMAKER (Mongrel, 2007) D: Nina Davenport, w/ Muthana Mohmed, Liev Schreiber. Rating: NNN; DVD package: NNN
In 2004, American actor Liev Schreiber arranges for Iraqi film student Muthana Mohmed to leave Baghdad and work on an American film shoot in the Czech Republic, a well-intentioned gesture that works out very badly.
Mohmed does poor work, complains a lot, blows his money and doesn’t prepare for his future after the shoot. Soon he’s devoting most of his energy to getting people to give him money.
Over the three years Nina Davenport spends documenting Mohmed’s efforts, her opinion of him sinks ever lower. But she contextualizes his behaviour with footage of bombed-out Baghdad and video postcards from friends and family who urge him not to come home. Maybe he’s suffering post-traumatic stress disorder. Or maybe he’s just a spoiled brat.
According to Davenport’s accompanying interview, he’s a ready-made metaphor for the American invasion of Iraq, but her final thought is better: this is a movie about unfulfilled expectations, a theme that resonates far beyond its immediate story.
EXTRAS Director interview. Widescreen.