Ahmed Yassin Al Daradji
Ishtar Iraq Film Production (Huda Al Kadhimi), Margaret Glover, Odeh Films (May Odeh), Ahmed Yassin, Mohamed Hefzy, Daniel Ziskind
Iraq, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, UK
Wissam Diyaa, Jawad Al Shakarji, Hussain Muhammad Jalil, Akram Mazen Ali
Ahmed Yassin Al Daradji, Margaret Glover
Kamal El Mallakh
Mercury Visual Solutions
Janain mualaqa (Hanging Gardens)
Brothers As’ad (12) and Taha (28) barely scrape a living as rubbish pickers in ‘Hanging Gardens’—the local nickname for Baghdad’s smouldering dumps—yet they make the most of what they have.
Then one day, As’ad discovers an American sex doll. When he brings the taboo item home and presents her as a thing of beauty, Taha assaults his little brother for ruining their reputation. As’ad retreats to Hanging Gardens to make a new home for himself and his miraculous find.
When As’ad and his friend, Amir (14), discover the doll can speak, they teach her the language of seduction in Arabic and set her to work. Business rockets, raising their profile lucratively with local teens and dangerously with the local patriarch’s enforcers.
As’ad questions their exploitation of the doll, yet before he can save her from further degradation, she’s kidnapped. As’ad and Amir go after the prime suspect, only to discover that he’s turned informant.
The patriarch has As’ad and Amir kidnapped so that he can exact his own cruel and humiliating punishments. As’ad survives to complete the journey he began and reconcile himself to the choices he’s made on his own terms.
I have twin goals—to question the status quo and to entertain. I want to pose questions not by being provocative or causing distress, simply by telling an emotionally engaging story in which characters consider “What if?”, and audiences wonder “What would I do in their shoes?”
I cast my young actors and gathered the supporting crew from the neighborhood where I grew up. They are the experts in the film’s themes and dilemmas and my creative partners. We’ve walked a fine line to convey the truth of As’ad’s story in its most intimate and poignant details. The result bears witness to what it takes not just to survive but to live with meaning and integrity in present-day Iraq.
PRODUCTION 1: Huda Al Kadhimi – Ishtar Iraq Film Production
Building 99, Street 28, Kadhimiya, Area 415
10006 – Baghdad, Iraq
Tel. +964 7719763136
PRODUCTION 2: Margaret Glover
1 Butterfield Court, 1B Nevill Road
N16 8SH – London, United Kingdom
Tel. +44 7813901977
PRODUCTION 3: May Odeh
State of Palestine
Mob. +970 631168597
WORLD SALES: Gaetano Maiorino – True Colours
Largo Italo Gemini 1
00161 – Roma, Italia
PRESS OFFICE: Barbara Van Lombeek, Marie-France Dupagne – THE PR FACTORY
Mob. +32 486546480
Mob. +32 477626770