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Documentary of 2020: Once Upon a Time in Iraq, BBC 2, BBC iPlayer, Narrator Andy Serkis and Director James Bluemel. TV review Iraq. Their beliefs and the positions shared by each are by no means unanimous, but what they do have in common is the view that Iraq is anything but better off after Saddam Hussein's removal. Synopsis. Then a pause. July 14, 2020. War. Waleed, 18-years-old at the time US President George W. Bush ordered the war, is filmed looking back over footage of himself as a teenager in the early weeks of the invasion. BBC's Once upon a time in Iraq, a five 5 part docu-series tells the tale of the Iraqi people and all the atrocities they had to face from Saddam Hussein to ISIS. Instead, Saddam Hussein's rule is the subject that assumes front and centre stage. Once Upon a Time in Iraq. In July the comedian David Baddiel tweeted about a new documentary series that was making waves: “Finished watching Once Upon A Time In Iraq tonight. Once Upon a Time in Iraq includes interviews with Iraqis who were sincere in the belief that their leader was a beneficent national saviour, {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}}, Once Upon a Time in Iraq gives voice to those in the Iraq War, How TV shows are transforming an industry rife with exploitation, Apple TV+’s musical comedy Little Voice hits the same old dreary notes, Cate Blanchett plays a menacing cult leader in Netflix’s Stateless, You may not agree with our views, or other users’, but please respond to them respectfully, Swearing, personal abuse, racism, sexism, homophobia and other discriminatory or inciteful language is not acceptable, Do not impersonate other users or reveal private information about third parties, We reserve the right to delete inappropriate posts and ban offending users without notification. The documentary is an important historical archive, that much is undeniable. FRONTLINE: Once Upon A Time In Iraq Airs Tuesday, July 14, 2020 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV + Thursday, July 16 at 9 p.m. on KPBS 2 + PBS Video App + YouTube Monday, July 13, 2020 Andy Serkis. By the time America finally withdraws all its troops from Iraq in 2011, he is a Canadian citizen, happily married and university educated. Follow her on Twitter: @NazliTarzi, Sign up to get this in your inbox every week, We use our own cookies and third-party cookies to measure traffic to our website and analyse browsers' behaviour, with a view to improving the services we offerIf you continue browsing, we consider that you accept the use of cookies. FRONTLINE Presents “Once Upon a Time in Iraq”— the Iraq War as You’ve Never Seen It Before. English. Reyes is described by BBC as one of a small group of elite Recon Marines sent ahead of the main invasion of Iraq … I think we all know the answer to that now. Traumatic memories pepper the recollections of every Iraqi participant. Reliving the moment of when he met Alaa and her family, Waleed summarised the experience as something which "f****d-him up for life". A year later, he returns to Iraq for the first time since leaving. Notwithstanding its successes in flinging open the doors of discussion, at the most basic level, the film fails in its message, perpetuating, by choice, a myopic and premade narrative of Iraq.Nazli Tarzi is a freelance British-Iraqi journalist, specialising in Middle East politics, with a particular interest in Iraqi affairs. Contains some strong language and upsetting scenes. Director. Now the funniest man in Iraq, he was in those days sneakily swapping his dad’s cassette of the Quran in the car stereo with bootleg rock music, and going around telling the girls his name wasn’t really Ahmed, but actually Keith. The five-part BBC documentary ‘Once Upon a Time in Iraq’ has received almost universal critical acclaim since its release earlier this month. 9pm, BBC Two “Mission accomplished” must be two of the most misguided words ever uttered by a US President (yes, even the … Watch now. The series traces events between 2003, when occupation forces put Iraq in a stranglehold, and 2014, the moment the Islamic State was born. By the time America finally withdraws all its troops from Iraq in 2011, he is a Canadian citizen, happily married and university educated. The claim that Bluemel's documentary forces the public to revaluate events in Iraq feels naive, particularly when recognising, as many Iraqis do, the ways that spurious claims, obsessions with sectarian identities and Saddam Hussein, form the framework through which Iraq's story is re-told and re-sold. This is the story of the Iraq war, told by Iraqis who lived through it. A treasure-trove of archival footage animates the story, intertwined alongside sombre interviews. Once Upon a Time in Iraq, a new BBC Two five-part documentary series by James Bluemel has been commended, largely in the West, for its perceived ability to challenge myopic views of the Iraq war. Sally Mars, who was aged six at the time of the invasion, is the youngest Iraqi female participant. 97% Upvoted. Once Upon A Time In Iraq: The terrible human tragedies that resulted from the toppling of Saddam. Series 1: 1. James Bluemel. Subsequent episodes advance this view by framing Iraqi insurgents as 'Sunnis,' and the sole force opposed to America's mission, after the invasion upended years of 'Sunni rule'. Pick of the day: Once Upon A Time In Iraq. BBC's Once upon a time in Iraq, a five 5 part docu-series tells the tale of the Iraqi people and all the atrocities they had to face from Saddam Hussein to ISIS. You can find our Community Guidelines in full here. Buy Once Upon a Time in Iraq: History of a modern Tragedy by Bluemel, James, Mansour, Dr Renad (ISBN: 9781785944567) from Amazon's Book Store. Arguably the best documentary of the Iraq War I've ever seen - Once Upon a Time in Iraq (full film) | FRONTLINE . Due to the sheer scale of this comment community, we are not able to give each post the same level of attention, but we have preserved this area in the interests of open debate. Series 1: 1. They share their personal accounts and lasting memories of life under Saddam Hussein, the U.S.-led invasion of their country and the 17 years of chaos that followed — from the sectarian violence to the rise and brutal reign of ISIS. ... Once Upon a Time in Iraq, BBC2 “The second part [of this series] was shockingly different. It allows our most engaged readers to debate the big issues, share their own experiences, discuss real-world solutions, and more. Those stories are so real, moving, chilling, terrifying, heartbreaking, that they don't deserve to be set alongside the duplicity and spin of politicians. Once Upon a Time in Iraq is a gripping but fragmented portrayal of a nation torn apart by war. Once Upon a Time in Iraq. Once Upon a Time in Iraq: when the documentary series starts on BBC Two, and what to expect The five-part series speaks to soldiers, journalists and civilians caught up in the conflict . Illiteracy rates in post-2003 Iraq have climbed to a new historical high. The hour-long episode dedicated to events in Fallujah, the site of the fiercest urban battles between US Marine forces and Iraq's resistance movement, is void of necessary context. Are you sure you want to delete this comment? Language. Those blackened moments of mirthless levity pepper Once Upon A Time In Iraq, the essential documentary about the invasion of the Middle Eastern country you … It was … You can also choose to be emailed when someone replies to your comment. youtu.be/T2L4jc... 8 1 1 118. comments. Disappointingly, the interviewer leaves the spurious claim unchallenged. English. But this first instalment concerned the (relatively) happy time of the brutal but stable and liberal (by Middle East standards) dictatorship of Saddam Hussein, and the first heady days of liberation from him. “I mean it has to be worth it. i24news takes a look at a unique documentary that reveals the untold story of an Israeli paradise in Iran Jo Abel. Please continue to respect all commenters and create constructive debates. Once Upon a Time in Iraq, a new BBC Two five-part documentary series by James Bluemel has been commended, largely in the West, for its perceived ability to challenge myopic views of the Iraq war. Our journalists will try to respond by joining the threads when they can to create a true meeting of independent Premium. The Guardian - Like all the best documentaries, Once Upon a Time in Iraq is just some people telling a story. These include Ali Hussein, the sole survivor of the heinous Speicher Massacre by the Islamic State, Umm Qusay, a woman from Tikrit famed for sheltering military cadets during the massacre, and Mustafa Abed, who lost his leg as a child due to a US missile strike on his hometown of Fallujah. Please be respectful when making a comment and adhere to our Community Guidelines. This is the story of the Iraq war, told by Iraqis who lived through it. War as the locus point of all things Iraqi is a popular but, Once Upon a Time in Iraq: A harrowing but flawed narrative of a traumatised nation, Read more: Tracing a lost past: National memory in the. Once Upon a Time in Iraq BBC2/iPlayer **** This documentary, the first in a series of five, told the tale again, but this time from the point of view of civilians, reporters and soldiers. Like otherwise sane people today in North Korea or the Uxbridge and South Ruislip Conservative Party, many Iraqis were then sincere in the belief that their leader was a beneficent national saviour. Swigging from a bottle of tequila, as you do when being interviewed by the BBC, this self-styled Jedi seems conflicted about the killing he did. Another worn out trope introduced in episode one, is the tacit claim that Iraqis were relieved at the sight of Americans that many believed had come to liberate their country from dictatorship. The series is interspersed with other Iraqi voices including mothers, widows, survivors, and an Iraqi translator recruited by occupying forces. The footage is assessed to be from only the second battle, with no mention of the first, known as Operation Vigilant Resolve, whose key objective was not to neutralise the 'enemy' but to pacify the city in its entirety even if this meant the decimation of Fallujans. This subtly implies that the arrival of occupying soldiers went unopposed. Want to bookmark your favourite articles and stories to read or reference later? Home; Episodes; Clips; Main content. Episode 1 of 5 Documentary series. We see retired Lieutenant Colonel Nate Sassaman, responsible for countless deaths, and NYT journalist Dexter Filkins, among others, discuss their roles and what they bore witness to with electrifying alacrity. This myopia erodes any merits the documentary achieves. Like all the best documentaries, Once Upon a Time in Iraq is just some people telling a story. Equally bemusing is the choice of footage that casts Iraq's army, before 2003, as a ragtag force of moustachioed overweight men. This revisionist reading is further reinforced by the attempt to draw a straight line between Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi insurgency which, intentionally or unconsciously, criminalises the population's right to self-defence. 2020 Directed by James Bluemel. SHARE. Iraq's very own Arab Spring moment is labelled 'Sunni', with little mention of cross-sectarian solidarity that emerged at the time of protests that spread to Mosul and Baghdad. The most insightful comments on all subjects will be published daily in dedicated articles. Once Upon a Time in Iraq. Producers were able to track down Alaa Adel, another Iraqi participant, whom Waleed met as a 12-year-old child, blinded in one eye where a piece of shrapnel lodged itself after it pierced through her cheek following a car bomb explosion. 29 July, Looking back now in his mid-thirties, the rather dapper Waleed explains that, like many young Iraqis, he was infatuated by western culture, in his case inspired by the Backstreet Boys. Posted by celticman on Fri, 25 Dec 2020. 2020. Although Tony Blair might be right that the world is a safer place without Saddam, it’s not obvious that Iraq is. save. share. Independent Premium Comments can be posted by members of our membership scheme, Independent Premium. Producer. It is a five part series that interviews Iraqi citizens, as well as US military personnel and international journalists about the Iraqi conflict and its effects on the Iraqi people.. 102. Once Upon a Time in Iraq review – a gripping, harrowing masterpiece . The series traces events between 2003, when occupation forces put Iraq in a stranglehold, and 2014, the moment the Islamic State was born. Where the documentary does succeed is in its ability to capture the euphoria felt by journalists and retired US officers during their time in Iraq. A year later, he returns to Iraq for the first time … In July the comedian David Baddiel tweeted about a new documentary series that was making waves: “Finished watching Once Upon A Time In Iraq tonight. At last, we hear from those who went through it. Documentary series. His role in Iraq's calamitous trajectory is indeed impossible to skate over, but the obsessiveness feels tawdry. Once Upon a Time in Iraq Series 1. Once Upon a Time in Iraq is a Keo Films Ltd. production for WGBH/FRONTLINE and BBC. From the American camp, we hear the accounts of occupying soldiers, the families of deceased servicemen, a Saddam Hussein-besotted CIA advisor, and New York Times media personnel. Terina Hine reviews the fascinating five-part TV documentary Once Upon a Time in Iraq available on BBC iPlayer Once Upon a Time in Iraq is a story of war narrated through the reflections and memories of eyewitnesses: Iraqi civilians, American soldiers, New York Times journalists and … For him, hanging out in his “blue jeans” and drinking Coca Cola in a fake McDonalds restaurant in Baghdad called “MaDonal” was the epitome of cool. Want an ad-free experience?Subscribe to Independent Premium. The most preposterous claim that brings this view to light is enunciated by former US Marine, turned-actor, Rudy Reyes who takes a hard swig of liquor before recounting how he and his colleagues shot dead countless "illiterate" civilians at a makeshift checkpoint, claiming that they could not read the signage warning them not to enter. In a traumatised nation like Iraq, unending tragedies and rising poverty have busied civilians, focused not on the need to be heard, but the need to survive within such a bleak environment. 0. Some of it is conflicting, inevitably – but it does not purport to be another public inquiry, and it is all the better for that. Review by Nani Sarakam (నాని) ★★★★★ 4. this might be the best documentary of the year for me. Andy Serkis has taken to Twitter to discuss his role in the creation of Once Upon a Time in Iraq. As war began, many Iraqis were hopeful. He explained how Saddam had set the fashion for the thick black porn star-style moustache. The people who were involved in the 2003 invasion – Iraqi and American – tell their stories and unravel the argument that anything good came out of it. This is a truly important, essential film. Prior to the invasion, the eradication of illiteracy was a feat that Iraq was synonymous with, gaining regional, international and UN recognition. So many Iraqi men emulated the style that it seemed like an entire nation had turned itself into a Freddie Mercury tribute act. Overall, events in Fallujah are depicted as a black hole that incubated the insurgency. Cast; Crew; Details; Genre; Cast. “Yes,” he replies. He still dreams of him sweetly every night. There was some surprising stuff. Yet we see for ourselves grainy home video footage of a gig featuring the lead singer of Iraq’s first such band, Waleed Neysif, headbanging away to the Mesopotamian equivalent of Motörhead’s “Ace of Spades”, but prudently dedicating the song to the glory of “our President Saddam”. 7 6 67. Other tropes include the mislabelling of insurgents as 'Sunni' and less-than subtle sectarian clichés that in moments frame Iraqis as savage, camel riding folk, beset by primordial hatred. Alaa similarly describes how 17 years on, the sense of security she and her family were robbed of that day was something she never recovered. Off-camera the interviewer asks him if it was worth it. Once Upon a Time in Iraq is a 2020 British documentary directed by James Bluemel and narrated by Andy Serkis. FRONTLINE Presents “Once Upon a Time in Iraq”— the Iraq War as You’ve Never Seen It Before. Cast; Crew; Details; Genre; Cast. A new documentary series examines the realities of the Iraq War and life under Isis, with personal archive from civilians and soldiers from both sides of the conflict, Find your bookmarks in your Independent Premium section, under my profile. Once Upon a Time in Iraq has succeeded its purpose and is one of the most eye-opening documentaries I have encountered. As war began, many Iraqis were hopeful. It is filmed and directed by James Bluemel. Therefore, of course, the documentary inevitably contradicts itself at times – and it is certainly all the more powerful for it. Those familiar with Iraq coverage will recognise that the series in fact recycles stories well documented by Western outlets. report. Start your Independent Premium subscription today. Language. Once Upon a Time in Iraq, BBC 2, BBC iPlayer, Narrator Andy Serkis and Director James Bluemel. Find out when Once Upon a Time in Iraq is on TV, including Series 1-Episode 1: War. Contains some strong language and upsetting scenes. S2020 E14: Once Upon A Time In Iraq. As war began, many Iraqis were hopeful. It is also fascinating, even mesmerising, to hear from a muscle-bound ex-US Marine, a retired Rambo in a bandana who’d been in the spearhead of the misguided invasion. Once Upon a Time in Iraq offers an in-depth look at lives devastated by conflict, as director James Bluemel and Waleed Nesyif – who was 18 when the US invaded – tell Remona Aly. With unique personal archive from civilians and soldiers from both sides of the conflict, this series takes viewers closer to the realities of war and life under ISIS than they have ever been before. Its long traumatic aftershocks are told through the eye-witness accounts of just a few who were there: Iraqi civilians, journalists, and American soldiers. Once Upon a Time in Iraq. Yet, for due balance, we also hear from a man with a luxuriant handlebar moustache relaxing in what looks to be a Saddam shrine. In 2004, Waleed Nesyif is forced to flee Iraq following death threats for working for American journalists as a translator. Once Upon a Time in Iraq. Ahmed Al … With unique personal archive from civilians and soldiers from both sides of the conflict, this series takes viewers closer to the realities of war and life under ISIS. documentary. It deliberately avoids the WMD justifications, false intelligence and the phoney 'imminent threat'. Once Upon a Time in Iraq. Once Upon a Time in Iraq review: A sensitively made film about the war – at last, we hear from those who went through it The purpose of Once Upon a Time in Iraq is not to pin-point errors and place blame, nor to show who is right and wrong, but to retell the horrific realities from those who endured them. 5 / 5 stars 5 out of 5 stars. Director. But the story told chimes not with popular Iraqi sentiments but Britain's sanitised narrative, carefully stitched to exclude conversations about Britain and America's appeasement of the corrupt government in existence today. 2020 Directed by James Bluemel. Once Upon a Time in Iraq is a 2020 British documentary directed by James Bluemel and narrated by Andy Serkis. War. Once Upon a Time in Iraq BBC2/iPlayer **** This documentary, the first in a series of five, told the tale again, but this time from the point of view of civilians, reporters and soldiers. The existing Open Comments threads will continue to exist for those who do not subscribe to Independent Premium. Episode guide, trailer, review, preview, cast list and where to stream it on demand, on catch up and download. This sensitively made documentary about Iraq’s agonies changes that. Trust is not the key that allows Bluemel to access untold Iraqi stories. It has given the rightful coverage to one of the biggest humanitarian crises of the turn of the 21 st century, and in the way coverage on such critical issues should be done. Find out when Once Upon a Time in Iraq is on TV, including Series 1-Episode 1: War. A closer inspection of the narrative flags similar shortcomings, including a sanitised retelling of history by casting America as the sole conductor of war and thus, shifting attention away from America's partner in crime: Britain. His most prized possession is a handwoven tapestry of the face of the father/murderer of the nation. WE DON’T exactly need sobering up at the moment, but watching Once upon a Time in Iraq, BBC2’s new documentary series (Mondays), will decisively remove any vestigial pride in our brilliant international achievements.. Carefully selected footage and stories of children handing roses to uniformed American soldiers, is hardly evidence of a deep founded appreciation for occupational rule and the indignity Iraqis suffered as a result. I didn’t know, for example, that there was once such a thing as an Iraqi heavy metal scene – that is outside of a WMD facility. Once Upon a Time in Iraq, episode two, review: a devastating story of how hearts and minds were lost 5/5 The superb documentary series pulls together more elements in … Episode 1 of 5 Documentary series. Ahmed Al Bashir, now a … A year before the series was broadcast, she and Waleed Neysif - one of the show's leading Iraqi voices - sat at a Baghdad cafe discussing musical collaborations, when Waleed told Sally, "Come! hide. Once Upon a Time in Iraq airs on BBC2, tonight at 9pm Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article Join the conversation As Waleed puts it, the difference is that under Saddam you could nip out to buy cigarettes without being blown up by a car bomb. It is filmed and directed by James Bluemel. Here they are dramatically lit, often no more than faces emerging from the darkness: the civilians, journalists and soldiers who had no option but to experience the war in Iraq first-hand. [Getty], Date of publication: In spite of the space the documentary opens up for Iraqis to express themselves, the historical timeline Bluemel crafts is limited. ‘Once Upon a Time in Venezuela’ Review: Subtly Powerful Documentary Probes a Ghost Town in the Making Guy Lodge 12/2/2020 California faces 'darkest days' of COVID-19 Metacritic TV Episode Reviews, Once Upon a Time in Iraq, The Iraq war as you've never seen it before told by Iraqis who lived through those dangerous times. Scenes, that as she describes, no child should bear witness to. We're filming this documentary", she told The New Arab from Baghdad. Once Upon a Time in Iraq is a skilful, masterly telling of the Iraq War, that has just enough moments of light relief between compelling and sometimes harrowing personal … this might be the best documentary of the year for me. The Iraqi comedian and journalist Ahmed Albasheer has a similar story. 1:54:22 | Episode. Create a commenting name to join the debate, There are no Independent Premium comments yet - be the first to add your thoughts, There are no comments yet - be the first to add your thoughts. Civilians, journalists and soldiers from both sides of the conflict explain their experience during the Iraq War, from the 2003 invasion through the 17 years that followed. It is a five part series that interviews Iraqi citizens, as well as US military personnel and international journalists about the Iraqi conflict and its effects on the Iraqi people.. War. Arguably the best documentary of the Iraq War I've ever seen - Once Upon a Time in Iraq (full film) | FRONTLINE. What’s the alternative?”, Read our full mailing list consent terms here. The Guardian - Tim Dowling. we get the prespective of almost everyone involved in the war, from Iraqi civilians to the veterans, from journalists to CIA analysts and even a ex isis member. Close. Jo Abel. In 2004, Waleed Nesyif is forced to flee Iraq following death threats for working for American journalists as a translator. Directed by James Bluemel and narrated by The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit actor Andy Serkis, it has the simple aim of allowing first-hand accounts and reflections of the war to be heard. Synopsis. “I was like pro-war,” he says. No doubt the stories will grow more upsetting to listen to as the series moves towards the civil war and the rise of the Islamic State. While subjects were not asked about their feelings towards the existing government, Sally told The New Arab that she consciously brought up the woeful state of corruption in Iraq today during her interviews, none of which made it into the final cut. The strength of this series has been the regular contributors: “ordinary” Iraqis, if there is such a thing, and journalists. If the aim is really that, how do viewers square this against the editorial decision to airbrush British complicity and the participation of British forces in Basra from the story. Genre. Genre. This is not to undermine the colossal climb a project like this poses for any filmmaker. Leafing through journals she wrote as a child, Sally recalls on camera her sensory experience of war, the stench of bodies strewn across streets, decomposing corpses in pickup trucks, and the sight of blood. Once Upon a Time in Iraq Series 1. Participants are invited onto a dark, unadorned set, which feels akin to a therapy session, as they walk the audience down memory lane, pebbled with recollections of loss and trauma. Are you sure you want to mark this comment as inappropriate? Documentary series. Newswrap review of the year - part 1. Once Upon a Time in Iraq review – a gripping, harrowing masterpiece. We also hear from a Saddam Hussein loyalist, miscast as an advisor when in fact he merely held an administrative position at the Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Frustrations against the corrupt ruling elite that culminated in Iraq's October uprising last year, where Iraqis irrespective of sect rallied in the streets demanding wholesale change of the political order, are equally ignored. Though deeply unsettling, it captures the pitiful confidence of men celebrated and written into history as virtuous patriots. Of moustachioed overweight men 5 out of 5 stars 5 out of 5 stars 5 out of 5 5! Readers to debate the big issues, share their own experiences, discuss real-world solutions, and an translator! It on demand, on catch up and download documentary ‘ Once Upon a Time in Iraq review a. Guide, trailer, review, preview, cast list and where to stream it on,... 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