The son of a Shi'ite Muslim emigrant family that fled Iraq
for political reasons, Swiss film director Samir has created a brilliant tour de force in his new documentary FORGET BAGHDAD. This entertaining, ironic and visually stunning film essay begins as an exploration of the history and lives of exiled Iraqi Jewish writers, former members of the Communist Party, who now live in Israel. Their interviews are seamlessly layered and interwoven with fabulous Movietone newsreels, kitschy Egyptian musicals, and even Schwarzenegger's TRUE LIES as the filmmaker asks, "What does it mean to be an enemy of your own past?" But this is not simply a recounting of individual memories. Patriotism, exile, cultural identity and persecution in both Iraq and Israel are all explored through these writers' stories and their exquisite, sometimes painful, often sumptuous descriptions of life in two worlds. New meanings emerge from the eerie presence of the World Trade Center and images of the first Gulf War. Both emotionally moving and thought-provoking, FORGET BAGHDAD is also a plea for reconciliation and an amazing artistic intervention by an acclaimed European filmmaker. With Sami Michael, one of Israel's most famous best-selling authors; Ella Shohat, film theorist and writer; and extended excerpts from the stereotyped, but still hilarious, 1964 Israeli satire "Sallah," featuring Chaim Topol.