Saturday, March 17, 2007

Saturday at the movies

It was my Saturday to work, so I was listening to Morning Edition on NPR on the way in. They ran two segments on movies. One was on getting insurance for movies in production in dangerous places, the other was on a movie about an unfinished evangelical movie.

These stories serve as a pretext for me to pitch a movie idea to you. I'll probably never pursue it, and I'll probably regret not having done so, but anyway here's the skinny:

Iraq is in sad shape. I have an idea that it would be a morale booster to the Iraqis if a blockbuster historical action movie could be filmed inside Iraq. I've no idea what the Iraqi cinematic industry is like, or if it even (still) exists. Probably a lot of equipment & personnel would have to be imported.

The subject of the movie? The revolt of the Zanj. I read a bit of it in al-Tabari's history, and became intrigued. The story of internecine conflict in medieval Mesopotamia is usually not very interesting, as one whirlwind dynasty succeeds another, and tribe fights it out with tribe, with no larger civilizational stake in play. But a slave revolt has an added element of pathos. It's not quite Thermopylae, but it could be worked up into an exciting flick. The theme would resonate with Arab audiences, moreso than with Westerners. And if it could be largely an Iraqi production, then that would be a point of national pride.

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