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

Colossal Movie Review

Colossal Movie Review

It's rare to find a movie that so defiantly refuses to be put into a...

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

It's unlikely that Guy Ritchie could make a boring movie if he wanted to. This...

Snatched Movie Review

Snatched Movie Review

It doesn't really matter that the script for this lively action-comedy is paper thin: teaming...

Jawbone Movie Review

Jawbone Movie Review

Boxing movies aren't usually this thoughtful. Sure, there are plenty of punchy moments in the...

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Scottish filmmaker Gillies MacKinnon (Hideous Kinky) remakes the 1949 Ealing comedy classic, although it's difficult...

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Master filmmaker Ridley Scott is back to continue the story 10 years after the events...

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

A fictionalised account of real events, this drama is reminiscent of Peter Morgan's work in...

Advertisement
Sleepless Movie Review

Sleepless Movie Review

In remaking the 2011 French thriller Sleepless Night, the filmmakers have dumbed down both the...

Unlocked Movie Review

Unlocked Movie Review

By injecting a steady sense of fun, this slick but mindless action thriller both holds...

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

A seriously impressive feature directing debut with a star-making central performance, this period British drama...

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

It was never going to be easy to match the impact of 2014's Guardians of...

The Promise Movie Review

The Promise Movie Review

The director of Hotel Rwanda, Terry George, turns to another humanitarian horror: the systematic murder...

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

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.