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Operation Filmmaker

Nina Davenport


Operation Filmmaker
Directed by: Nina Davenport
Mongrel Media
After seeing an MTV special about youth in Iraq, actor Liev Schreiber invites Muthana, a film student whose school was bombed, to intern on the set of his mediocre 2005 film Everything is Illuminated. But once he gets Muthana on location in Prague, Schreiber who, to be fair, is directing his first feature film, abandons the young man, leaving him in the care of the staff of various unlucky set departments. 

They’ve got him fixing vegan snacks for the producers, cleaning Schreiber’s shoes, getting coffee---standard production assistant stuff. But Muthana is not interested in being a grunt (or in film, as far as one can tell), just staying out of Iraq which is also fair. Except he is a total douche who can’t fend for himself, leaving it up to others to procure visa extensions, apartments and money for him, at one point bilking 25 grand from The Rock for film school in London. 

Davenport tries a bit too hard to parallel Muthana’s experience with the invasion of Iraq---this is not the guy you want representing an occupied people---but captures his increasingly outlandish demands and expectations with a horrified bemusement, making for an outrageous, fascinating study of the Hollywoodization of one man in progress.
Tara Thorne

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