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IN THE SHADOW OF THE PALMS: IRAQ

Director: Wayne Coles-Janess

2005 • COLOUR • 91 MIN.


Four weeks before the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq began, independent film-maker Wayne Coles-Janess gained unsupervised access to Baghdad. Through the lives of five different residents he gives us an idea of what daily life is like in the Iraqi capital. Among the five subjects are an Olympic wrestling coach, a professor of Arabic poetry, an Imam and a cobbler, all of whom are observed during Saddam’s regime, the shock of the bombing campaign, and then under American occupation. The film highlights simple familial concerns on all sides, from those of an Iraqi-born Palestinian interpreter with an infant daughter to a US soldier on ‘unexploded device patrol.’ What’s so gripping about the film is its construction. We already know what took place both physically and politically, so what transpires is an excruciating countdown to catastrophe.

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