A film by Vice: Heavy Metal in Baghdad

Photo courtesy of VBS.tv

I really feel metaled out this week...
I was invited to take some photos at the Sydney film festival for the premiere of "Heavy Metal in Baghdad" for Vice Magazine last night. There were lots of familiar faces and with free booze from McKenna (MCK) Bourbon, the night was destined to end in obscurity and looseness.

The film was pretty hard hitting as most Vice projects are....As the title of the documentary reveals - it is about a band
Acrassicauda (translates to Black Scorpion in Latin), they are effectively the only heavy metal band in Baghdad to date. The feature film documentary follows the band from the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003 to the present day.

Forget the CNN and Al Jazeera, this film is probably as close as you get to the real deal on the streets of Baghdad and it is no joke. The guys from Vice had an entourage of bodyguards to take them around town to shoot very lo fi footage from their bulletproof SUV's and conduct low key meetings in various well protected places to speak to the band. It had to be this way not because Vice wanted to achieve a visual aesthetic, because it is just not safe to do proper reporting in public with the state of chaos in Iraq which evidently continues to grow on a daily basis.

For me personally, it is not just a visual shock, the story told by the band is more than musical freedom, it is their very struggle to stay together as a group and more importantly to stay alive, refusing to let their dreams to be killed by the world they live in. Their story not only echoes the unspoken hopes of an entire generation of young Iraqis, it also serves as a reminder for the rest of the world what life could be like on the other side (where it is not very green at all) ...when you accept people dying in the hundreds and living in a constant state of fear and paranoia is the norm of society, you just know something is not quite right!.

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