Iraq Picks Female Suicide Bomber Drama ‘The Journey’ as Its Oscar Candidate (EXCLUSIVE)

Nick Vivarelli

Mohamed Al-Daradji’s female suicide bomber drama “The Journey” has been chosen as Iraq’s submission in the foreign-language Oscar race.

The film, which is set entirely in and around Baghdad train station on a night in December 2006, premiered to positive reviews last year in Toronto. Variety’s Dennis Harvey said that, while “several dramas in recent years have attempted to fathom the mindset of a suicide bomber,” Iraqi-Dutch director Al-Daradji “comes up with a different, emotionally accessible approach…by surrounding his fictive terrorist’s mission within a panoply of train-station humanity, a gambit that at times is strongly reminiscent of vintage neo-realist slices of life.” 

“The Journey,” Al-Daradji’s fifth feature, marks the second time that the cultural committee of Iraq’s culture ministry has chosen a film by him to represent the country in the Oscars race. Al-Daradji’s second feature, “Son of Babylon,” was the country’s official submission in 2010.

Also in 2010, Al-Daradji was feted with Variety’s Middle East filmmaker of the year award at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival.

Iraq has been submitting films for foreign-language Oscar consideration since 2005 but so far has not scored a nomination.

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