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Arts Express

Sat, May 15, 2021 9:00 PM


** "There just aren't many movies like this - if any."

The Mauritanian: A Conversation With Director Kevin Macdonald.
It is said much too often that filmmakers of conscience step in where the big business media and history books fear to tread. Such could not be more true - and essential - than The Mauritanian.

A horror movie in every sense of the word, except that it happens to be a true story. The legal thriller traces the grueling, decades long struggle, without trial like so many others there, of Mohamedou Ould Slahi's battle (portrayed Tahir Rahim) to win back his freedom from incarceration and torture at Guantanamo.


French Algerian actor Tahir Rahim delivers a phenomenal performance as Slahi, along with Jodie Foster as real life ACLU acclaimed lawyer Nancy Hollander, who stood by Slahi all the way no matter how discouraging. Macdonald, whose diverse, award winning fillmaker has included the music documentaries Whitney and Being Mic, along with the dramatic feature The King Of Scotland.

Macdonald phones in from London to talk about the film, and provide a Guantanamo update. As for Jodie Foster  'What drew me to Jodie was that I saw this character as being a kind of older Silence Of The Lamb's Clarice Starling - somebody who is very tough, but inside somebody who is a little broken.'

The Mauritanian is based on Guantanamo Diary, Slahi's 2015 memoir revisiting his ordeal, and his innocence and release after being held without charges for fourteen years. Slahi was one of the few prisoners held in Guantanamo whom US officials have acknowledged was tortured there.

** "You know, we hopefully pick up a lot of the great, wonderful characteristics of the people we meet, and the people we work with. And push away from the bad cats and the bad jazz. But I got a lot of my great stuff from Robert Mitchum, he and I became very close - yeah, I still miss him."

Jeff Fahey Talks Robert Mitchum, Psycho's Anthony Perkins, Locked In. And the actor's approach to tackling a warehouse pandemic period thriller and female adversaries alike - possibly picking up pointers from noir recollections filming with those late acting legends.

** "Like many thinkers, once you've died you're kind of in the heads of your disciples. So you really have to hope that they read you well - because if they haven't, then that's how you're preserved in history."

Everybody: A Book About Freedom. A continuing conversation with British author and social critic Olivia Laing. Referencing Wilhelm Reich's despair, sexual liberation, porn and feminism; prison as the ultimate denial of the body; Rousseau, Nina Simone, Malcolm, James Baldwin, and Norman Mailer; and Laing as a youth activist sleeping up in trees.

Plus...News From Strange Places... 



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