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Heavy Metal in Baghdad

heavymetalbaghdad.jpgTo say Baghdad is a depressed city is a gross understatement. For those of us who have never visited the war torn region, it's hard to envision just how bad living conditions are these days for the Iraqi people. Over the weekend I watched Heavy Metal in Baghdad, a documentary directed by Eddy Moretti and Suroosh Alvi.

The film makers follow the band Acrassicauda (Faisal Talal ((vocals)), Tony Aziz ((guitar)), Firas Al-Lateef ((bass)) and Marwan Riyak ((drums))). The name is Latin for a deadly insect, so that's pretty Metal I suppose. From the documentary, it's hard to say if Acrassicauda possess above average talent or if the quartet is just comprised of men with big dreams. At any rate, Heavy Metal in Baghdad gives the rest of the world a glimpse into the other side of war. At some level, I think we all know it's incredibly dangerous to live in Baghdad, but this film shows that just practicing the guitar can put a giant target on your back. So many parts of this documentary are utterly tragic, but the silver lining is these four men are absurdly committed to Metal - and so are their fans!

At one point in the film, all the members of  Acrassicauda flee Iraq for a bigger shot at making a career in music. While it's not clear if Acrassicauda will gain musical success -- as none of us are ever guaranteed success -- the film does give the four men an admirable level of exposure. If you haven't watched the film, I won't ruin the ending for you -- but let's just say I was a little surprised with the initial outcome.

Brass tacks? If you are a true Metal fan - regardless of where you stand on American involvement in Iraq - you need to see this movie. A true documentary, Heavy Metal in Baghdad paints the bigger picture of a humanitarian crisis bestowed on the Iraqi people. The soundtrack just happens to have wailing guitars and heavy drum beats.  

Like every band on the planet, Acrassicauda has a Myspace page. The film documents the band professionally recording three tracks, which serve as a demo. Click the link to hear those tracks.

You can see the movie trailer below:

Reader Comments (2)

Excellent review Allyson. I think this film is more insightful than most higher profile documentaries about present day Iraq such as Charles Ferguson's "No End In Sight". Bassist Firas al Lateef and lead singer Faisal Talal went six months without seeing each other dispite living only 15 minutes apart. There are grim statistics about refugees and the brain drain flight of the best educated and most successful citizens that also add to the universal value of the film.
June 30, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSean
i've heard about it but have not seen it yet. if it's thought provoking i think it would be a must see. hopefully i'll find out soon.
July 1, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterdon

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