Films

The Journey

The Journey, "Al Rahal"

Synopsis

Director

On 30 December 2006, the first day of Eid al-Adha – the Feast of the Sacrifice, one of the holiest Muslim holidays – Baghdad is celebrating the reopening of its train station. Sara (Zahraa Ghandour) enters the station intent on carrying out a suicide bombing. She seems a little hesitant to pull the trigger, but is still determined to follow through. An awkward encounter with Salam (Ameer Jabarah), an extremely flirtatious and talkative salesman, will stall her plans. After a series of events, Salam ends up as Sara’s hostage, and he tries to change her mind. But is Sara willing to listen?

The story of "The Journey", which Al-Daradji co-penned with his regular co-producer, Isabelle Stead, is set exclusively in Baghdad train station. Using only this limited space, the director succeeds in incorporating every aspect that made up Iraqi society at that turning point, from devout believers to modernists, from small-time crooks and businessmen to poor children, and from musicians and frightened citizens to austere American soldiers. This iconography also mirrors the images of both heroes. Salam is an opportunist who benefits from his compatriots’ misery, but he’s otherwise harmless and merely trying to survive. On the other hand, Sara is a believer; she is not willing to betray her religion or her ideals for anything, and she is ready to “purify” the site and bring justice. This odd pairing demonstrates the inner conflict in a society that is already troubled and torn apart. Al-Daradji lightens the tension through small vignettes that pepper the main story, although everything remains extremely serious.

Vassilis Economou, Cineuropa.org

Mohamad Al-Daradji

(b. 1978), screenwriter and director, graduated in theater direction in Baghdad. Later he studied film and television production in the Netherlands, and there he worked as a cameraman on documentaries and television news reports. He then continued his studies in camerawork and direction at the Northern Film School in Leeds, where he garnered the prestigious Kodak Student Award. After the collapse of Saddam’s regime he returned to Iraq to shoot his first feature „Ahlaam“ (2005). Portraying three decades of dictatorship, the film was screened at more than 125 festivals (including PÖFF) and took more than 20 awards. His next film, „Son of Babylon“ was screened at Sundance, took two awards at the Berlinale and won jury prize at the PÖFF. His third fiction film „In the Sands of Babylon“ was screened also at PÖFF competition programme in 2014.

Filmography

  • Ahlaam (Unistused, PÖFF 2006)
  • War
  • Love
  • God & Madness (2008, doc)
  • Syn Babilonu (2009, Paabeli poeg, PÖFF 2010)
  • Iraq: War
  • Love
  • God & Madness (2011, doc)
  • In My Mother’s Arms (2011, doc, co-dir)
  • In the Sands of Babylon (2013, Babüloonia liivas, PÖFF 2014)
  • Al rahal (The Journey, 2017)

Schedule

21.11.2017
18:15 - 19:37
Tallinn, 
Apollo Kino Solaris
Hall 4
Subtitles: ENG
Screening code: 051102
Sold out
02.12.2017
15:30 - 16:52
Tallinn, 
Coca-Cola Plaza
Hall 10
Subtitles: ENG
Screening code: 160701
Sold out
Screenings with guests might end later than expected.

Programme

Panorama
Hot Topics

Film info

Countries: Iraq, United Kingdom, France, Qatar, Netherlands
Year: 2017
Duration: 82 minutes
Languages: Arabic, English
Director: Mohamad Al-Daradji
Producers: Isabelle Stead, Mohamed Jabarah Al-daradji, Hélène Cases
Writers: Isabelle Stead, Mohamed Jabarah Al-daradji
DOP: Duraid Munajim
Montage: Mohamed Jabarah Al-daradji, Pascale Chavance, Herve De Luz
Composers: Mike Kourtzer, Fabien Kourtzer
Cast: Zahraa Ghandour, Ameer Ali Jabarah
Productions: Human Film, Iraqi Independent Film Centre, Lionceau Film
Festivals: Toronto, London

Synopsis

Director

On 30 December 2006, the first day of Eid al-Adha – the Feast of the Sacrifice, one of the holiest Muslim holidays – Baghdad is celebrating the reopening of its train station. Sara (Zahraa Ghandour) enters the station intent on carrying out a suicide bombing. She seems a little hesitant to pull the trigger, but is still determined to follow through. An awkward encounter with Salam (Ameer Jabarah), an extremely flirtatious and talkative salesman, will stall her plans. After a series of events, Salam ends up as Sara’s hostage, and he tries to change her mind. But is Sara willing to listen?

The story of "The Journey", which Al-Daradji co-penned with his regular co-producer, Isabelle Stead, is set exclusively in Baghdad train station. Using only this limited space, the director succeeds in incorporating every aspect that made up Iraqi society at that turning point, from devout believers to modernists, from small-time crooks and businessmen to poor children, and from musicians and frightened citizens to austere American soldiers. This iconography also mirrors the images of both heroes. Salam is an opportunist who benefits from his compatriots’ misery, but he’s otherwise harmless and merely trying to survive. On the other hand, Sara is a believer; she is not willing to betray her religion or her ideals for anything, and she is ready to “purify” the site and bring justice. This odd pairing demonstrates the inner conflict in a society that is already troubled and torn apart. Al-Daradji lightens the tension through small vignettes that pepper the main story, although everything remains extremely serious.

Vassilis Economou, Cineuropa.org

Mohamad Al-Daradji

(b. 1978), screenwriter and director, graduated in theater direction in Baghdad. Later he studied film and television production in the Netherlands, and there he worked as a cameraman on documentaries and television news reports. He then continued his studies in camerawork and direction at the Northern Film School in Leeds, where he garnered the prestigious Kodak Student Award. After the collapse of Saddam’s regime he returned to Iraq to shoot his first feature „Ahlaam“ (2005). Portraying three decades of dictatorship, the film was screened at more than 125 festivals (including PÖFF) and took more than 20 awards. His next film, „Son of Babylon“ was screened at Sundance, took two awards at the Berlinale and won jury prize at the PÖFF. His third fiction film „In the Sands of Babylon“ was screened also at PÖFF competition programme in 2014.

Filmography

  • Ahlaam (Unistused, PÖFF 2006)
  • War
  • Love
  • God & Madness (2008, doc)
  • Syn Babilonu (2009, Paabeli poeg, PÖFF 2010)
  • Iraq: War
  • Love
  • God & Madness (2011, doc)
  • In My Mother’s Arms (2011, doc, co-dir)
  • In the Sands of Babylon (2013, Babüloonia liivas, PÖFF 2014)
  • Al rahal (The Journey, 2017)