Operation Filmmaker
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Touched by the plight of an aspiring Iraqi filmmaker whose dreams of working in Hollywood seemed to fall with Baghdad, American filmmaker Liev Schreiber invites the ambitious wannabe director to intern on Everything Is Illuminated, to unexpected results. In 2004, just one year after the United States launched a devastating attack on Baghdad, MTV ran a story about a 25-year-old Iraqi film student named Muthana Mohmed, who remained determined not to let the strife that consumed his country consume his dreams as well. At the time, American actor Schreiber was preparing to make his directorial… More
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 91%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"If learning about other cultures shows that we're all basically alike, Operation Filmmaker is a reminder that foreign countries have their own share of nitwits, too."
‑ Mark Rahner, Seattle Times
"This gut punch of a documentary will knock you for a loop."
‑ Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
"What the film really spotlights is a cultural clash violently, awkwardly resisting the tenuous unifying powers of art. The Westerners -- including Davenport -- see in Muthana the protagonist."
‑ Michael Joshua Rowin, Stop Smiling
"Wickedly ironic and often moving."
‑ Peter Keough, Boston Phoenix
"It's fearless filmmaking. And the surprising observations about cultural differences and insights into the movie production process make the whole thing worthwhile."
‑ Jeff Vice, Deseret News, Salt Lake City
"What might have been a vanity project emerges as a surprisingly complicated morality tale."
‑ Frank Scheck, Hollywood Reporter
"An exit strategy in Iraq? This self-aware study shows how hard it'll be."
‑ Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly
"Nina Davenport's unapologetically cunning doc exceeds the sum of its parts to become almost unmanageably allegorical and even an indictment of its own shock-and-awe premise."
‑ Rob Nelson, Film Comment Magazine
"The antagonism between filmmaker and subject reminds us that reality is never a passive still life, but a volatile entity with its own ideas on how it is to be represented."
‑ Bill White, Seattle Post-Intelligencer
"Veteran documentary filmmaker Nina Davenport parses an ill-conceived experiment in cross-cultural understanding that began with the best intentions."
‑ Maitland McDonagh, TV Guide's Movie Guide
"Everyone here comes out smelling bad -- that's why the film's so good."
‑ Ty Burr, Boston Globe
"The whole film could be seen a metaphor for America's misadventures in Iraq: Schreiber and company came in expecting flowers and sweets from a grateful native, and wound up in a quagmire."
‑ Scott Tobias, AV Club
"Particularly fascinating is the way in which it this documentary examines the filmmaker's relationship to the film's subject, and the role documentary filmmakers play in shaping their subjects' futures."
‑ Jennifer Merin, About.com
"Davenport focuses deep on the Hollywood do-gooder mentality and her own complicity in treating Mohmed as a symbol of the war and not as a flawed person."
‑ Sean Means, Salt Lake Tribune
"As the story of an exasperating, manipulative, lazy and entitled young man, it's one for the books."
‑ Mark Keizer, Boxoffice Magazine
More reviews for Operation Filmmaker on Rotten Tomatoes