Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Indiewire logo

"Nice Bombs": A Gentler Iraq Doc Gets its Belated World Premiere

ReelPolitik By Anthony Kaufman | ReelPolitik August 17, 2006 at 2:01AM

"Nice Bombs": A Gentler Iraq Doc Gets its Belated World Premiere
0

Among the many Iraq docs I've seen over the last few years, Usama Alshaibi's "Nice Bombs" offers a refreshing new perspective on the quagmire. Opening the Chicago Undeground Film Festival today as a world premiere, "Nice Bombs" was inexplicably rejected by the Tribeca Film Festival last spring -- inexplicable because the festival's All-Access program had championed Alshaibi's project the year before. Without support from other A-list festivals, "Nice Bombs" has found a welcome home in the filmmaker's backyard, but I hope other festivals -- and maybe even a distributor -- embrace it, as well.

What I like about the film -- and what sets it apart from most of what's out there -- is Alshaibi's point of view. Both Iraqi and American, and constantly oscillating between the two, he's visiting a homeland he hasn't seen in 24 years, and coming along for the ride is his very American-looking Caucasian wife, who looks deathly afraid half the time. While I've watched dozens of documentaries about the conflict from the soldiers' point of view and from Iraqi civilians' point of view, Alshaibi is easier to identify with than both camps. He's an excellent stand-in for us ordinary dumb Americans. But because of his background, he's got better access.

He also comes from a well-to-do family, which defies the stereotypes of impoverished Arab amputees that we often see in documentary accounts -- the very same depictions that rather than bring us closer to the subjects on the ground in Iraq allow us to view them as Other. While watching "Nice Bombs," Westerners will likely sympathize with Alshaibi and his family in a much deeper way. Because, after all, he is one of us, too.

There are some fantastic vignettes (a little boy offers one precious word of advice to Bush: "Quit") and a gender-split discussion about women's rights in the country is illuminating and funny. But most of all, "Nice Bombs" gets right the many contradictions and conflicting points of view of the country, the war and Alshaibi himself.

I should say that, personally, I'm a fan of Alshaibi's work, having interviewed him for this 2005 Creative Capital grant.

Follow us

E-Mail Updates



Recent Comments

By Tony: I saw this with my girlfriend. She was completely taken in by it. This movie is no better than a soap opera. Absolute drivel, pandering to…

Can Tearjerking Doc "The Hunting Ground" Change Colleges' Sexual Assault Policies?

Jan 28th, 2015 1:03am

By Joe Britz: While rape is a horrible crime, it doesn't mean we simply toss Blackstone out the window. The foundation of our justice system is innocent…

Can Tearjerking Doc "The Hunting Ground" Change Colleges' Sexual Assault Policies?

Jan 28th, 2015 12:31am

By Amelia: It reminds me of the Dark Ages, where people would accuse a woman of being a Witch and everybody would simply believe the accusation because…

Can Tearjerking Doc "The Hunting Ground" Change Colleges' Sexual Assault Policies?

Jan 27th, 2015 3:25pm

By Joe: There is no rape culture. Rape is a sickening and illegal act but apparently there are some who want to return to the old fashioned lynch mob…

Can Tearjerking Doc "The Hunting Ground" Change Colleges' Sexual Assault Policies?

Jan 27th, 2015 1:31pm

By roosevelto: I think that this movie is many things, one of those is political. Even if we suppose that it wasn't Afflec's intention, when has become…

"Argo" Reconsidered: Ben Affleck is a Right-Wing Propagandist

Jan 16th, 2015 5:08pm

By roosevelto: I watched the movie with the most naive eyes possible. I said to myself, don't care about facts, don't care about propaganda, don't care abou…

"Argo" Reconsidered: Ben Affleck is a Right-Wing Propagandist

Jan 16th, 2015 4:53pm

By Anthony Kaufman: "The Look of Silence" will definitely be on next year's list! It hasn't opened in the U.S. yet.

The Top 12 Documentaries of 2014

Jan 3rd, 2015 1:09pm