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Son Of Babylon Review

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Northern Iraq, 2003. Twelve year-old Ahmed (Talib) begrudgingly follows his grandmother across the country in the hope of finding his father who disappeared during the war.

★★★★★

Mohamed Al-Daradji couldn't make a more plaintive call for peace in this heartfelt Iraqi road movie. Set shortly after the fall of Saddam and making evocative use of the barren desert and decimated urban landscape, it follows teen Yasser Talib on a search for his long-lost father with grandmother Shazada Hussein. The acting has neo-realist integrity and the plight of the Kurds and Arabs who fell foul of the Baathist tyranny couldn’t be more harrowing. But, gruelling though the odyssey is, Al-Daradji overdoes the decency of everyone the couple encounters, including penitent Revolutionary Guardsman Bashir Al-Majid. This feels less like an authentic insight than a self-conscious parable packed with metaphorical significance.

A touching and tender road movie, although perhaps a little misty-eyed in the depiction of some of its characters.

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