Son of Babylon

2009 [ARABIC]


Plot summary

Uploaded by: FREEMAN
August 06, 2022 at 07:03 PM

Top cast

720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
808.8 MB
Arabic 2.0
25 fps
1 hr 27 min
P/S 26 / 30
1.62 GB
Arabic 5.1
25 fps
1 hr 27 min
P/S 14 / 45

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by DICK STEEL 8 / 10

A Nutshell Review: Son of Babylon

When we think of Iraq, we picture a war torn country which had seen the worst of a dictatorship under Saddam Hussain, where it spent many years in conflict with Iran, before the UN moved in during Desert Storm to liberate occupied Kuwait, followed by the US led invasion in Desert Storm II. Western media continue to pepper us with news that internal strife continues to this very day with news of suicide and miscellaneous bombings, and I'm sure we're more than curious to want to know about tales from within, rather than agencies from the outside that continue to paint it like a war zone. This is as close as you can go on a road trip from Northern Iraq to Baghdad, onward to Nasiriyah then Babylon.

Son of Babylon deals with the missing generation, and a mother/grandson's search for their son/father, who was taken by force years ago during the Gulf War, and hasn't been heard since. Set three weeks after the fall of Saddam Hussain, the film opens with the young boy Ahmed (brilliantly portrayed by a flute holding Yasser Taleeb) and his grandmother Um- Ibrahim (Shehzad Hussein) beginning their long quest for answers and closure, and it is through their eyes and witnessing their experiences, do we get a glimpse of just how emotionally daunting and physically challenging this quest is, amidst a stunning on location backdrop of an Iraq we never get to see, until now.

Written, directed and lensed by Mohamed Al-Daradji, his story touches on the experiences of three generations of Iraqis, as Ahmed and Um-Ibrahim come into contact with Musa (Bashir al-Majid), an ex-Republican Guard about the same age as what their son/father would be if found, and how his life got filled by the war time atrocities that he had to commit under orders. The narrative puts our trio on a never-ending search as they get bounced and referred to another city where other mass graves have been found, suggesting an inexplicable nationwide genocide that had taken place which accounted for the thousands of people who have disappeared.

The story will also open eyes to how diverse Iraq is, with language and cultural barriers from within the population as they struggle to communicate with one another (usually dismissed fairly quickly when one speaks a different language), only to share common ground in their history of grief brought about through the ravages of war. It's not all doom and gloom all the time as the film does contain some light hearted moments courtesy of Ahmed, and his significance cannot be ignored in a film that closes with a bittersweet end to suffering, and the hope placed on today's youth who have to forge their own way ahead on a long, dusty road of uncertainty. Ahmed demonstrates his street-smartness, haggling abilities and knowledge of his rights, that I think he epitomizes the spirit of the new generation who are competent in holding their own ground.

Travelling the world's various festivals, picking up a multitude of awards and being Iraq's official entry to the Academy Awards next year, this is not an easy film to sit through as it does get a little bit exasperating with the outward show of gloom that will sap your emotional energies, but to the patient viewer it rewards with its beautiful sweeping visuals of a land that most have not had a chance to see, and a poignant story on forgiveness, reconciliation and internal healing that must begin for a nation emerging from its ruins. Recommended!

Reviewed by moviexclusive 9 / 10

A must watch film which should go down cinema history as one of the best productions ever made

There are major events in world history which the world would rather forget. These incidents revive painful memories which cause psychological hurt and heartache. But these events also serve as important lessons in the worldly scheme of things. One such history lesson is the reign of Saddam Hussein in Iraq. While we may not be the most knowledgeable people to tell you the exact terrors which happened during the infamous Gulf War, we are urging you to watch this emotionally engaging piece of work from Iraq, simply because you, our readers, are fellow human beings like us.

And we believe that human beings have the ability to feel human emotions, hence our existence. One avenue to experience real human emotions are well made films like this.

The story is heartbreakingly simple: We follow a headstrong young boy and his persistent grandmother on their journey across Northern Iraq as they search for the boy's father, a solider who has gone missing since the Gulf War. This happens after the fall of Saddam Hussein, when people are trying to pick up fallen pieces and return to normality. Here we have two hopeful souls, a boy in search of his father and a mother in search of her son – how will their road trip end? Director Mohamed Al-Daradji handles a politically throbbing topic in this award winning film which deserves an important place in the history of international cinema. The young filmmaker approaches this piece of history with extreme sensitivity, compassion and mostly importantly, empathy, as he tells this realistic tale through the camera lens. While it would have been convenient to exploit and milk emotional sympathy (read: Hollywood), the filmmakers took care not to demean the power of cinema by thoughtfully illustrating what the reality is like for the people who suffered the aftermath of Saddam Hussein's time in power.

The film's two protagonists are played by Yasser Talib and Shazda Hussein, who deliver calmingly powerful performances that will touch the most contemptuous viewer. Talib's idealistic adamancy comes from his boyish vivacious personality, while Hussein's buoyant stubbornness is coupled with an exasperating grief which aptly complements her co-actor's performance. Your attention will be with the grandmother grandson duo throughout the film's 90 minute runtime, as they uncover the reality which ultimately spells tragedy. A supporting character in the form of a former Republican Guard (played energetically by Bashir Al-Majid) completes this capable ensemble.

Richly filled with important political messages of peace and strong representations of symbolic imageries, it is evident that this production is one made with care and deliberation. It is no wonder the film has received critical acclaim at international film festivals, with the 60th Berlinale International Film Festival awarding it with the Amnesty International Film Prize and Peace Film Award, and the Edinburgh International Film Festival giving it a special mention earlier this year. As Iraq's official entry for the Best Foreign Language Film, we are keeping our fingers crossed that the Academy will give this film's its deserved accolade at next year's Oscars.

This film is the perfect example of how human emotions are universal, regardless of language. In a gently heartrending scene in this production with Arabic and Kurdish language, a woman tells another: "I do not understand your language, but I feel your sorrow and pain." This is human connection at its best.

Also, without giving away too much here, watch out for the devastating finale, which we are declaring as one of cinema's greatest moments.

A human tale of hope of closure, this humane film is about how people arise from the ashes and pick up where circumstances left them off – a must watch for 2010, definitely.


Reviewed by emm7 9 / 10

A road trip through Iraq

Directed and written by Mohamed Al Daradji, Son of Babylon is a gritty realistic drama about a young boy Ahmed and his grandmothers journey across Iraq to try and find the boys father. Set in 2003 after the fall of Saddam, Ahmed's father was forced to join the Iraqi army in 1991 and hasn't returned for 12 years, fearing he's in prison or dead the two remaining family members travel 600 miles to try and find out what's happened to him.

The dusty landscape and abandoned ruins of Iraq are a perfect backdrop for this harrowing story, they travel from the mountains to the sands of Babylon hitchhiking rides from kind strangers along the way. The cinematography and scenery in the film are spectacular, they capture the beauty in war torn Iraq when they stumble across Prophet Ibrahims house and mosques along the way. It's easy to believe how isolated the people of Iraq feel as the only thing that has always stayed intact are the roads, it's now a barren land.

Yasser Talib who plays the young boy Ahmed is just brilliant at portraying an abandoned boy who's never known his father. He's comical at times but deals with the films serious nature very well. Shazada Hussein is the Grandmother in the film, she's very believable as a distressed mother in search of her son, her task of looking after her grandson in certain very dangerous parts of Iraq in a tough one. Shazada was actually the only woman to have testified in Saddam Husseins trial so this film must be very personal for her. Together the two characters form a great bond, they annoy each other easily but deep down there is much love and respect for one another.

Throughout the film the two characters keep travelling on buses that break down and are only met with disappointment when they arrive at the town they believe Ahmeds father to be in, but along the way they meet some good people who help and look after them. The Iraq we see in the film is a very different place to the one the media portray. There is even more death and destruction than is reported and the film shows Iraq from it's peoples point of view, not from an outsider looking in, in fact there are barely any troops featured in the film, only a few they have to pass on the road. The only music in the film is when Ahmed plays his flute and the singing of people they meet on their journey, I think this gives the film a more authentic and real feel, it's not glossed by a melancholy soundtrack to how the characters are feeling at any particular point in time.

The slow-paced film overall looks amazing, the acting is brilliant and the plot is strong, you really hope these characters find what they're looking for.

I saw a preview press screening of Son of Babylon as part of Raindance Film Festival.

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