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The Fabulous Picture Show
Trip of Dreams
The emotional return to Baghdad of one Iraqi director and his debut film.
Last Modified: 11 Oct 2009 08:15 GMT

In March 2007, The Fabulous Picture Show hosted a special screening of filmmaker Mohamed al-Daradji's debut feature Ahlaam, one of the first films to come out of Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime.

Mohamed with Aseel Adel, the lead from his feature debut Ahlaam
Ahlaam (Dreams), tells the story of three psychiatric patients and events that lead to their traumatic incarceration in the war-torn capital.

With al-Daradji's new film Son of Babylon set to appear at the Doha Tribeca Film Festival we take the opportunity to look back at the story behind the story of Ahlaam.
 
Filmmakers often talk about the difficulties of making films which can include writing scripts, finding funding and attracting a good cast.

But Mohamed had problems of a different magnitude. While shooting his film, he was tortured, kidnapped and almost executed.

Trip of Dreams, a special half hour documentary for The Fabulous Picture Show, is the continuation of Mohamed's true story. 

Part two:

Back in March 2007 he told the FPS audience that although Ahlaam had been screened at 70 film festivals around the world and had won numerous awards, it had never been screened in Iraq because of the grave security threat it posed for his family, the cast and crew - a number of whom were killed during filming.

Ahlaam’s first Iraqi audience

The impossibility of showing his film in his homeland was a source of great sadness for Mohamed.

Even the actress Aseel Adel, who played the main character Ahlaam, had never seen the results of the gruelling production process.

In April 2007, Mohamed was finally able to travel back to Baghdad for the film's long-awaited Iraq premiere at the capital's national theatre.

Trip of Dreams, which was written, produced and directed by Mohamed al-Daradji, documents his emotional journey back to Baghdad and his determination to go ahead with the screening despite his family's resistance - on a day which turned out to be one of the bloodiest in Iraq's recent history.


Trip of Dreams can be seen from Thursday, October 08, at the following times GMT: Thursday: 0600 and 16:30 ; Friday:  01:30 and 0830; Saturday: 1130 and 2330; Sunday: 0630 and 2030; Monday: 1430; Tuesday: 1930; Wednesday: 0300.

Source:
Al Jazeera
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