“A terrifically enjoyable and engaging film: open-minded and open-hearted, and utterly unlike the material on regular commercial release”
“A woozy, dream-like, magical-realist movie which demonstrates that despite living amid a landscape of conflict, the minds of the children are ‘like Aladdin's caves’ ”
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Peter Bradshaw in The GuardianThu 07 Oct, 2010
“Mark Cousins’ documentary about taking films to an Iraqi village â€“ where none of the children have seen one before â€“ makes for entertaining and uplifting film, says Peter Bradshaw.
Part documentary, part interactive educational project, this is an entirely admirable film by Mark Cousins.
He took a camera crew to Goptapa in Kurdish northern Iraq, which was targeted by Saddam’s horrendous chemical bombardment in 1988, and set up a film projector in the village; then he invited all the local children to a free showing of family movies, some well-known, some less so: Spielberg’s ET, Lamorisse’s The Red Balloon, the German fairy-tale The Singing Ringing Tree. Afterwards, Cousins distributed digital mini-cams and asked them to go away and make short films of their own.
The results are stunning. Some interview their parents and grandparents about the terrible day of Saddam’s attempted genocide; others unselfconsciously create myths and stories which have nothing to do with it. Cousins himself has a gentle, ruminative style, entirely different from the cynicism of most journalism. It is heart-on-sleeve stuff and I found his idealism inspiring.
Rating: 4/5” — Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Read the review on The Guardian site