After the controversy that the movie “American Sniper” drew in the states, it should come as little surprise that Iraqi moviegoers in Baghdad regarded the film with a mixture of emotions. Set during the height of the Iraq War, the film chronicles the life and career of legendary sniper and Navy SEAL Chris Kyle. Many audience members in Iraq were reflective rather than reactionary — though in many cases, still quite critical, but for different reasons than Americans.
The principle issues with the story had less to do with the scenes of bloody violence seen through the eyes of an American sniper killing Muslims, or allegations of racism or Islamophobia, and more to do with Iraq’s cultural perspective at this point in time: that many are tired of war. Seeing enough of it on a daily basis, some have little interest in sitting through a movie where the bloodiest moments in recent history are displayed, glossy, and vibrant on a screen.
However, there are those within the burgeoning film community of Iraq who disagree.
“When Iraqis see a film [about war] they’ll be engaged in it because they feel part of them is there.” said Iraqi filmmaker Mohamed Al-Daradji, adding that if the Iraqi people want an accurate depiction of war from their perspective, “Iraqi filmmakers have to make films about Iraqi people.”