Somehow it seems that not one of the movies set in the Middle East I have watched so far is described on the internet in a way I can agree with. At the same time, not one of them has been less than educational for me, though I also can’t say I have fully understood any.
Take Hyena Road- a Canadian movie set in Afghanistan but actually shot in the Jordanian desert.
Three men, three different paths, caught in conflict but brought together to save lives: a highly skilled sniper who can’t think of his targets as human; an intelligence officer who has never killed while on duty; and a legendary Afghan warrior who left war behind but gets pulled back to battle.
…really?! Like, really? Wow. Apparently I don’t even understand English properly. Because see, I thought I had watched a story about a guy who was deeply in love with his colleague he was having a baby with, but died in a terrorist ambush (that would be the sniper); another guy who went against his own instincts in order to follow the rules and prevent his men from escalating conflict with their impulsive reactions (guess he was the intelligence officer); and a third guy who is meant to be some sort of Afghani ghost who has lived five lives already, but ooops dies like everybody else in the end. A story of war, death, desperation and disillusionment, over all. A story that reminded me of a similarly dreadful book I read this summer, “Il corpo umano” (The human body) by Paolo Giordano, an ex-military guy who writes about an Italian troop in Afghanistan. A story where really, the only positive thing might be that a bunch of children who has been abducted by the evil ones get freed and run back to their parents’ arms, but in a way what’s the point if they may be brutally killed two hours later?
I thought it was a good movie, hey. Well-made, for sure. But had I read those descriptions before the film screening, I definitely would have taken advantage of the Q&A session with the film directors there (one of whom, Paul Gross, also acted in the film- he was that so-called intelligence officer) to ask them what their intentions really were. And I dare to disagree with the Something Something Governor of Canada who gave a short speech before the screening: he seems like a really amiable person, but please, it just isn’t right to introduce this film by saying “you’re in for a marvellous treat”. Very posh and classy; just not appropriate if you ask me.
Question of the day: will I ever be able to understand why anybody would ever want to make use of violence on others? And careful, it’s a more than double-sided question. Everybody is involved. And I don’t even know if I should wish I understood, or if it’s better not knowing.