Forget Baghdad is a documentary traversed by the filigreed figure of the author, a son of Iraqi immigrants in Switzerland. He stages four exemplary witnesses to an unacknowledged story: that of Jewish-born Communists forced to leave Iraq for Israel in the fifties and immediately becoming the tormented and painful objects of «internal» chauvinism and racism, largely ignored by the international public. Samir’s film draws its force from a magnificent narrative construction in which the thread of his own biographical progression is woven into the testimony of four Jewish Communist intellectuals from Iraq who fled to Israel, and into an evocation of cinema as the «cradle of imagination». Valentino, the star of silent movies dressed up as a Bedouin, or Paul Newman playing the part of a Jewish liberator are icons that contests the reality captured by the author. Indeed, throughout his investigations, he paints a rough portrait of Israel, a nation that systematically discriminates against any Jew of Arab origin in favour of whomever may resemble, thanks to his European background, the glorious founders of the State. Thus today, even in the Promised Land, there are exiles who, like Samir, waver between striving to be – and being from nowhere.
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