Monday, February 21, 2005
The Liberace of Bagdad
I had a free press pass to the Boulder International Film Festival this weekend, and despite the fact that I'm fighting off a gnarly bug of some kind, I went ahead and went Saturday night and Sunday for most of the day. Sunday's closing ceremonies featured the appearance of Samir Peter, the so-called "Liberace of Bagdad," an accomplished pianist and composer, a Christian Iraqi living in Bagdad. Sean McAllister, a BBC journalist, decided to make a film about a family's adaptation to the new, "liberated" Iraq. The film, "The Liberace of Bagdad," has been received well at festivals from Florence to Utah and won the BIFF's top honor last night.
It's a fascinating study in lost celebrity, family tension, and the day-to-day life of people living within a war zone. Add to that Samir's sudden status as a target- as a Christian and as someone harboring a foreigner- and you get a portrait of all the small braveries that make life in Iraq possible.
Samir himself was at the show, and gave a great performance at the end. On my way out I got to meet him and shake his hand (he held on a little long, which spoke of his longtime obsession with Western women). But his crooked, aging-gigolo smile was very charming and I am so glad I got to congratulate him on winning at the BIFF and at Sundance.
Anyway- a great night. One of those that makes me feel like I have the best job ever.
Posted by Cassie Schoon at 9:57 AM