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Iraq Film: 500 miles to Babylon

Wednesday, May 09, 2007
3:00 PM - 4:30 PM
Event Type:
Location Details:
UC Berkeley
Eshelaman Hall
Senate Chambers (1st floor)

directed by David Martinez

Wednesday May 9
UC Berkeley
Eshelman Hall Senate Chambers (1st Floor)

500 Miles to Babylon is a one-hour documentary film about Iraq under U.S. occupation. Narrated by the filmmaker, using footage shot in Iraq during 2003-4, the film addresses the current war not simply as a conflict over petroleum profits or a scheme to fill a company's coffers, but as part of a larger American imperial project.

Through impromptu interviews, glimpses of daily life, still photographs, and footage of car-bombs, demonstrations, night-time graffiti artists, and the celebrations following Saddam's capture, 500 Miles To Babylon reveals the situation in contemporary Iraq through a cinema verite lens. More than a simple anti-war movie, 500 Miles follows a journal-esque "narrative of disintegration", showing the initial excitement of some sectors of the Iraqi population after the U.S. military toppled Saddam Hussein, their hope eroding as they watched their country sink into chaos and violence in the months that followed.

The film ends with the April 2004 assault on Fallujah, when all of Iraq was rising against the Americans, and includes rare footage from inside besieged Fallujah, where the filmmaker went with a group of journalists and aid workers to deliver medical supplies and move wounded civilians to Baghdad.

About the filmmaker: David Martinez is a journalist and filmmaker originally from Texas. He has worked as a video correspondent in Aceh, Indonesia as well as in Iraq where he worked with Prothap Chatterjee ( covering the U.S. occupation in 2003-4. As a filmmaker he has produced several shorts, including a segment for the 2004 PBS series Visiones, executive produced by Hector Galan ( Most recently he produced one segment of a film about music in Sumatra, Sumatran Folk Cinema, for the Sublime Frequencies label(http://www.sublimefrequencies). Mr. Martinez currently makes his home in San Francisco.
Added to the calendar on Tue, May 8, 2007 9:23PM
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