At the same time as the U.S. begins bombing Afghanistan in October 2001, four Pakistani Britons go to Pakistan for a wedding, but eventually end up as detainees at Guantanamo. When you start watching this reality-based docudrama the first emotion you’re likely to have is irritation at the irresponsible and naive behavior of the leads who single-handedly put themselves in this situation. But irritation turns to anger as the incompetence and brutality of the U.S. military and their political leaders becomes obvious. Often painful to watch, this simple but well-staged film has a ring of truth and the director certainly gets his point across.
2006-Britain. 95 min. Color. Produced by Andrew Eaton, Melissa Parmenter, Michael Winterbottom. Directed by Michael Winterbottom, Mat Whitecross. Screenplay: Michael Winterbottom. Cast: Riz Ahmed (Shafiq Rasul), Farhad Harun (Ruhel Ahmed), Waqar Siddiqui (Monir), Arfan Usman, Shahid Iqbal, Sher Khan.
Trivia: Ahmed’s first feature film.
Berlin: Best Director.
Last word: “The idea was that if we made the film, it would remind people that Guantanamo existed. At the time that we were making the film, things had gone pretty quiet about Guantanamo. It was no longer so much of a news story, but there were still hundreds of people there. So the idea was to remind people about it, remind people that there were prisoners who had been there four years with no prospect for any kind of legal recourse.” (Winterbottom, Chud)