Marooned in Iraq

"Very Good"

Marooned in Iraq Review


If timing is everything, then Marooned in Iraq is sitting on top of the world. Acclaimed Iranian director Bahman Ghobadi's follow-up to 2000's heartrending A Time for Drunken Horses once again traverses the treacherous border between Iraq and Iran with a trio of nomadic Kurds, although instead of Drunken Horses's child protagonists, his new film concerns an elderly singer named Mirza (Shahab Ebrahimi) and his musician sons Barat (Faegh Mohammadi) and Audeh (Allah-Morad Rashtian) in post-Gulf War Iran. The three bickering gentlemen are looking for Mirza's ex-wife Hanareh (Iran Ghobadi), who deserted her husband and their musical group years earlier to marry one of the troupe's members and continue her singing career in Iraqi Kurdistan, where she is now believed to be living. Mirza, scared by the news that Hanareh might be in trouble, coerces his two sons to go despite their misgivings, and the three set off across the barren and harsh Iranian countryside in search of news that will lead them to her.

What they discover is a people brutalized by the tyranny of Saddam Hussein, who is engaged in 1991-1992's relentless campaign of bombing both Iranian and Iraqi Kurdistan's destitute villages as retribution for trying, with the first President Bush's encouragement, to rise up against him. As Mirza and his sons make their way from town to town, what they discover is a trail of blood and misery - most of the settlements are abandoned, with the men having been summarily killed by Saddam (frequently with chemical weapons) and the women forced to flee into the snowbound mountain ranges. Yet unlike his oppressively bleak debut, Marooned in Iraq is not bereft of levity. From their encounter with a matchmaker trying to appease a dissatisfied customer to Barat's blossoming love for a grieving woman and Audeh's constant complaining about his abandoned seven wives and 13 daughters (and his attempts to find yet another wife who will finally bear him a son), Ghobadi portrays the Kurds as full of resilient courage and liveliness, qualities that have helped sustain these browbeaten minorities during Saddam's reign of terror.

While the threesome face numerous obstacles on their journey to Iraqi Kurdistan and Hanareh - including thieves who steal their motorcycle, clothes, and musical instruments - it is their indefatigable optimism that eventually leads each man to acquire the very thing they've been seeking. Ghobadi once again uses a cast of phenomenal Kurdish citizens with no prior acting experience, and his directorial maturation is reflected not only by Marooned in Iraq's balanced temperament, but also by its more traditional visual approach - the handheld cinematography that gave A Time for Drunken Horses its documentary realism has been replaced by graceful compositions that transfix our gaze on the characters' weathered, expressive countenances. Still, one occasionally wishes that the film were an even more drastic departure (both in terms of narrative and style) from Ghobadi's prior effort. The director revisits a number of striking images from his previous film, including a group of desperate Kurdish smugglers fleeing Iraqi aggression, as well as that film's final image of a young boy carrying his sickly brother across the two countries' border in search of relief. One hopes that by the time this humanistic director finishes his next film, such haunting imagery will finally be a thing of the past.

Aka Gomgashtei dar Aragh.



Marooned in Iraq

Facts and Figures

Run time: 108 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 29th May 2003

Distributed by: Wellspring

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
Fresh: 25 Rotten: 2

IMDB: 7.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Wind River Movie Review

Wind River Movie Review

After writing the superb Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan moves back into...

The Vault Movie Review

The Vault Movie Review

Filmmakers Dan Bush and Conal Byrne attempt a mash-up of a frantic heist movie with...

Goon: Last of the Enforcers Movie Review

Goon: Last of the Enforcers Movie Review

The 2012 Canadian comedy Goon was one of those surprising little films that snuck up...

Detroit Movie Review

Detroit Movie Review

After The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal reteam to...

Logan Lucky Movie Review

Logan Lucky Movie Review

Good news: Steven Soderbergh's well-publicised retirement from directing only lasted about four years. He's back...

American Made Movie Review

American Made Movie Review

An enjoyably freewheeling tone and Tom Cruise's star wattage combine to make this an entertaining...

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

It's been a decade since Al Gore's wake-up-call documentary won the Oscar. And here he...

Advertisement
The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

It really doesn't matter that this movie is utterly ridiculous, because the central pairing of...

Final Portrait Movie Review

Final Portrait Movie Review

A relaxed, amusing true story about noted Swiss painter and sculptor Alberto Giacometti, this sharply...

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Finnish artist Tuoko Laaksonen used the name "Tom of Finland" as he drew explicit illustrations...

A Ghost Story Movie Review

A Ghost Story Movie Review

Filmmaker David Lowery reunites the stars from his offbeat Western Ain't Them Bodies Saints for...

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

From the co-director of John Wick, this similarly styled action romp puts Charlize Theron front...

Girls Trip Movie Review

Girls Trip Movie Review

This movie's premise basically sounds like The Hangover with added black girl power. But it's...

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

There's so much manic energy in this animated action comedy that it can't help but...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.