Foreign Policy Blogs

From Ruins to Reels: The Rebirth of Iraqi Cinema

Because the U.S. post war reconstruction plan in Iraq has been grossly mishandled and has proven to be largely ineffectual, Iraqi artists and filmmakers have decided to take cultural reconstruction efforts into their own hands. Recently in Baghdad, Iraqi filmmakers unveiled the city’s first traveling film festival, showcased at sites where explosions have ruined cultural landmarks have killed hundreds of Iraqi citizens.

“From these places that have been attacked by terrorists we want to send a message that in Iraq cinema, culture and civilization are still alive,” states Husam al-Sharam, one of the organizers of Baghdad’s first traveling cinema festival, in a recent article by the BBC.

According to the BBC article, all of the films shown have been filmed in Iraq since the 2003 invasion, and all of them deal with the current reality of living and surviving in Baghdad.

The resurgence of Iraqi film, which has a rich and fruitful history, is a particularly important aspect of the devastated city’s cultural reconstruction. During the 2003 Iraq war, the majority of the country’s cultural heritage landmarks, including museums, libraries and archaeological sites were destroyed in raids by US allied forces. Although only three films have been made in Iraq since 2003, they each play an important role in rebuilding the country’s rich history and unifying the Iraqi public.



Neshani Jani

FPA blogger Neshani Jani holds a Masters degree in Media Culture and Communication from New York University and dual Bachelors degrees in Anthropology and Spanish Literature from the University of California, Davis. She is a freelance writer and is currently helping to manage blog networks for the Foreign Policy Association and the Women's Education Project.

Neshani has a background in journalism and interned with the CBS News program 60 Minutes. Additionally, she is a public and internet radio veteran. She has worked as a research assistant at both the Social Science Research Council and at the Institute for Scientific Analysis and currently blogs for several of the Foreign Policy Association's global affairs blogs.