While visiting Iraq in 2007 for the premiere of his first feature film, Ahlaam, director Mohamed Al-Daradji summons the courage to look back over the turbulent past three years of his life and the making of his film in a volatile war zone.
Undaunted by ever present dangers and heartbreaking chaos, Mohamed returned to his home in Baghdad in 2004. The Iraq he had once known had vanished, replaced by the gritty aftermath of 35 years of dictatorship, three wars, and the wake of occupation. Finding the once vibrant streets consumed by unemployment, poverty, and madness, he strives to fulfill his dream of making a film in the country he loves.
Determined not to succumb to physical and emotional strife, Mohamed’s camera rolls on as the world begins to unravel around him. A spectrum of society previously sidelined by images of war is introduced to the audience: a young child sings for Saddam; a father grieves for his hanged son; a young actor thinks back on his time in prison; a troubled friend becomes lost in madness.
Struggling against seemingly insurmountable hurdles involving persecution, imprisonment, personal injury, terrorist attacks, and the numerous restrictions established by U.S. troops, Al-Daradji proves himself to be one of the world’s most truly independent filmmakers. War, Love, God, & Madness is the riveting film that documents his experience of making cinematic art in one of the most dangerous and chaotic places on Earth.
“The horrific toll on cast and crew during the making of Iraqi feature Ahlaam is told by its helmer, Mohamed Al-Daradji, in War, Love, God, & Madness. More than merely a companion piece to the 2005 drama, docu provides a disturbing look at the situation in occupied Baghdad, when safety was illusory and kidnapping and torture became not merely a hypothetical fear but a reality.” – Jay Weissberg, Variety
“War, Love, God, & Madness offers a staggering and petrifying insight into the very real dangers faced by Al-Daradji and his crew as they attempt to give politics a bodyswerve, in favour of lending the average person on the street a voice.” – Amber Wilkinson, Eye for Film
“This isn’t just a film about making a film, but a film about not letting go of your dreams even when circumstances are at their worst.” – Robin Ruinsky, Film School Rejects
“An amazing and uplifting documentary, which shows precisely how dangerous shooting in Iraq can be.” – Mark Kermode, BBC
2008 – Premiered at the Rotterdamn International Film Festival
2008 – Top 10 Best Films at the Tribeca International Film Festival
2009 – Grand Jury Prize at the Ismailia International Film Festival (Egypt)
2009 – Cinema City International Film Festival (Siberia)
2010 – Jury Special Mention at the Moqavemat International Film Festival (Iran)
2010 – Bradford International Film Festival (UK)
2010 – Washington D.C. International Film Festival: Arabian Sights
2011 – Thessaloniki International Film Festival
2011 – San Francisco Arab Film Festival
2011 – Calgary Arab Film Festival