4.5 stars out of 5
The Stars: Yasser Talib, Shazada Hussein
The Story: Set in 2003 Iraq, three weeks after Saddam Hussein’s fall, 12-year-old Ahmed (Yasser Talib) and his elderly Kurdish grandmother (Shazada Hussein) receive word that prisoners-of-war have been found alive in the South. As they embark on a cross-country sojourn through the war-ravaged land in search of the boy’s father, who disappeared after the 1991 Gulf War, the two forlorn figures begin to reconcile the tragedy of their past with the desolation of their present.
The Buzz: Hailed as one of the definitive films of Iraqi cinema, Son of Babylon has become a critical favourite in the competitive festival circuit. This film has lately claimed nods at the Berlin, Raindance, Hawaii and Karlovy Vary film fests among others. Son of Babylon was recently selected as Iraq's official entry for Best Foreign Language Film at next year’s Academy Awards.
inSing says: Bleak and mournful, Son of Babylon isn’t merely a tale of a hopeless journey across chaotic terrain; it is also the story of the emotional vagabondage of young Ahmed and his strong-willed but frail-bodied grandmother.
Gorgeously helmed by Mohamed Al-Daradji and spotlighting wonderful performances by its Iraqi cast, this film resonates emotionally through its unfiltered depiction of loss on an austere humanistic scale. All too often great tragedy is seen through statistics, but this movie, focusing intently on two vividly real characters, explains the true toll that the devastation of one’s heart and home can exact.
Even amidst dusty and disheartening circumstances (perhaps especially in those circumstances), Son of Babylon illustrates that the littlest glimmer of light can shine blindingly. Whether it’s a broken woman learning to forgive or a regretful man seeking redemption for terrible sins, these instances offers palpable hope that maybe, just maybe, the future isn’t entirely lost for Ahmed.
About Hidzir Junaini
Hidzir Junaini, is 23-years-old and a wealthy playboy billionaire by day and a caped crusader by night. Only one of those is true. He’s actually a freelance writer, blogger, full-time film buff and some-time socially awkward nerd. He also writes about music, restaurants and nightlife for MetroWize Asia.
Hidzir was the winner of the inaugural inSing Movie Lover contest that garnered over 1,000 participants. The Movie Lover contest is a search for a candidate who possesses outstanding passion for movies and a talent for writing engaging movie reviews.