Mrs david_seventy*seven (Larissa to use the abbreviated term) and I went to see 'Body of Lies' last night. I really enjoyed it, partly due to the cracking story and acting, but also due to the Middle East setting.
The perception many people have of the Middle East (me included, before I came out here) is one of a violent war-torn area of the world which harbours Islamic terrorists hell-bent on mass distruction. It's not really like that at all, although films like this and an earlier release this year called 'The Kingdom' suggest otherwise.
To their credit, both films have shown a relatively accurate portrayal of everyday life in the areas they concentrate on. One of the best parts of Body of Lies was how they handled the relationship between the CIA agent and an Iranian nurse; it was spot-on. Also, the way the Jordanian character kept saying 'my dear' was a nice touch. (Whatever the Arabic is for referring to friends, it translates as 'dear' which has led to many an amusing text message from my regular taxi driver!)
Interestingly, Oman (where I live) is never featured in such films, being as it is a rather boring place where nothing much happens at all, least of all any terrorist malarky (touch wood).
There was a scene in the film where the main character was being tortured by a Bad Arab Man. Asked to justify why he (the Bad Arab Man) could so easily contradict the Qu'ran by having his followers murder others before committing suicide, he quoted an excerpt from the Holy Book which he interpreted to justify it swimmingly. (Something about everyone who dies is still here...).
The main guy got in as much as 'The Qu'ran...'
...and then the censors got their little scissors out and a chunk of the film went missing. Assuming a bare-breasted lady didn't inexplicably walk into the room, this means that cencorship must apply to talking about Islam in a negative way! I'd love to know what was said in that scene.
As an interesting aside, the audience (predominantly Omani) were so well behaved, I thought I was in a UK cinema! No chatting, no turning up late, no mobile phones going off. This happened when watching The Kingdom earlier in the year too. There must be something fascinating about watching the Western view of the Middle East on film that eliminates all other distractions.
- Canon PowerShot S2 IS