Mohamed Al-Daradji’s female suicide bomber drama “The Journey” has been chosen as Iraq’s submission in the foreign-language Oscar race.
The film, which is set entirely in and around Baghdad train station on a night in December 2006, premiered to positive reviews last year in Toronto. Variety’s Dennis Harvey said that, while “several dramas in recent years have attempted to fathom the mindset of a suicide bomber,” Iraqi-Dutch director Al-Daradji “comes up with a different, emotionally accessible approach…by surrounding his fictive terrorist’s mission within a panoply of train-station humanity, a gambit that at times is strongly reminiscent of vintage neo-realist slices of life.”
“The Journey,” Al-Daradji’s fifth feature, marks the third time that the cultural committee of Iraq’s culture ministry has chosen a film by the director to represent the country in the Oscars race, following submissions for his “Ahlaam” in 2007, and “Son of Babylon” in 2010.
Also in 2010, Al-Daradji was feted with Variety’s Middle East filmmaker of the year award at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival.
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Co-produced by Iraqi Independent Film Centre Iraq, Human Film U.K, France, The Netherlands Film Fund and The Doha Film Institute, “The Journey” is being touted as the first Iraqi film to be released commercially in Iraq after 27 years of wars and occupation.
Picture Tree International is handling international sales outside the Arab world where they are being handled by Mad Solutions.
Iraq has been submitting films for foreign-language Oscar consideration since 2005 but so far has not scored a nomination.