Laura Mulvey

Title: 23rd August 2008
Directed and produced by Laura Mulvey, Faysal Abdullah, Mark Lewis
Duration: 22:00
Format: HD video
Language: English
Subtitles: without subtitles
Production date: 2013
Production country: England


23rd August 2008 consists of two shots. A brief opening shot, intercut with inter-titles, of the famous Al Mutanabbi Street book market in Baghdad is followed by an unbroken eighteen-minute monologue, shot from a single, still camera position and simply recording the speaker’s words without interruption. In it, Faysal Abudullah gradually builds a portrait of his relationship with his younger brother, Kamel, and in the process evokes the lives of Iraqi intellectuals of the left, driven into exile in the early 1980s by Saddam Hussein’s regime. Faysal describes Kamel’s decision to return to Iraq in 2003, his work for the new Ministry of Culture and his tragic death at the hands of unknown assassins on 23 August 2008. While the film throws light on little known aspects of Iraq’s political history, primarily it is the story of the two brothers, of Faysal’s devotion to Kamel and their contrasting attitudes to exile and to life itself.


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