The Saddam Hussein Hanging. (2006)
Here we have what could be argued to be the most expensive film ever made. The final and highly desired result of the Bush invasion of Iraq.... at a cost of over a trillion dollars and countless (mostly innocent) lives. This film, in a unique way is must-see viewing because of the historical and cultural context. It stands along with the Zapruder film of the Kennedy assassination, as a singular window on history. I think viewing it goes beyond our sometimes morbid desire for sensationalism.
The Saddam film was photographed with a cell phone camera. The grainy jiggly images only add to the impact. The fact that everyone was searched upon entering the execution area, and there was to be no film of the event, only adds to the continuing fiasco that is occurring in Iraq. There are even noticeable camera flashes going off during the proceedings. At times the camera points down at the stairs, perhaps to avoid detection. Then it's over very suddenly, followed by a commotion. The photographer attempts to get closer for a view of the hanging body, which he does, although it is very dark....but then, for a very brief moment..... the scene is lit by a camera flash going off. Very eerie. Viewing all this the first time was a very visceral experience. I even experienced a bit of nausea. Saddam through the whole thing is very dignified. There are voices, and an exchange of words going on, but it is hard to tell who is talking. In other film footage of the event, which does not depict the actual hanging, Saddam refuses to wear a hood.
The fact that Saddam was executed at all at this point is questionable. Many other charges against him were possible. A lot of potential political fallout has been swept away under the table.
It is also interesting that the footage, at this point, has not been shown on TV in North America. A place where routinely violent, crass and exploitive images are shown all the time. Yet it is available for viewing free on the internet. It has been viewed (at the time of writing) 82,000 times on YouTube (totaled from 5 postings)....which is not much. Many very stupid videos posted during the last few weeks have been seen hundreds of thousands of times. Like "Hot ass booty dancing for web cam" (541,000). Oddly the official news video, which does not have the actual hanging, has been viewed over 2 million times.
Interesting and thought provoking viewing. If you want to see the footage, here is a link. It is also on YouTube, but you have to register to see it, (because they want to make sure you are 18 years old). Hanging video.
Occasional film reviews and essays. Films I humbly think are somehow interesting, significant, impactful, funny or in some other way worthy of taking up your precious time....by reading about or even eventually viewing if it seems like your type of thing.