SXSW2007: Film: Movies 3/9 - 3/11


The Lookout

See: The Lookout Wrap-Up

The Prisoner, or How I Plotted to Kill Tony Blair

Synopsis: On September 23, 2003, filmmaker Michael Tucker followed the U.S. Army on a house raid in Baghdad. U.S. Army intelligence became convinced that a subsequent detainee was plotting to kill British Prime Minister Tony Blair during his visit to Iraq; Abbas’s employment by British TV in Iraq may have raised this suspicion. After his arrest, Abbas, along with his two brothers, was held at Abu Ghraib and other facilities for nine months and subjected to the full menu of U.S. interrogation techniques. Recounting his experiences of fear, pain and anger, Abbas somehow retains a sense of humor. American commanders finally admitted the Abbas brothers had no intelligence value.

From SXSW Site

The action of Terry Gilliam’s Orwellian masterpiece Brazil hinges in one primary bit of action. A bug, literal bug, like the origin of the term, lands on a automated type machine. This machine, it so happens, is the list of “state enemies” that the goon squads are going to visit, black bag, and then torture until their answers are correct (or mental and/or biological function ceases ).

From the synopsis above, you might see some parallels. Apparently US Intelligence was wrong ( must be that same department doing the WMD in Iraq research ) and Younus was not planning on killing Blair. Younus describes his time in Abu Ghraib: sickness, illness, mortar attacks by insurgents on his incarceration tent and detention camp ( where there is nary a foxhole, you’ll be able to imagine ).

Abbas recalls how he befriends several of the guards, helps them quell prison riots brought on by their being served sub-standard nourishment ( as noted by the Army commission investigating conditions at the facility ). He ultimately recalls and praises the few decent GIs and admits some real cognitive dissonance between the interrogation brigade and US Military being sources of outright hate for him, and the caring, human, few GIs that attempted to hear and understand his story.