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Iraq’s Film Industry Hits Bottom

Once a popular pastime among Iraqis, cinema attendance has all but disappeared since 2003, to the detriment of youth aspiring to study cinema at Iraqi universities.
An Iraqi man sells tickets at the Atlas Cinema in the Iraqi city of Basra on May 27, 2003. Basra's cinemas closed this month after threats from radical Muslims but reopened on Tuesday, although they are showing only action and Arabic films and not the more popular "romance" movies. - RTXLZXN
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One of the strange indicators in Iraqi culture today is the graduation of dozens of cinema and cinematic art enthusiasts from the film departments in academies and technical institutes every year. Yet, they are taken aback by the harsh reality that there is no real cinema production, and the harsher fact that there are no movie houses in the country.

Bashar Kazem, a young film director and critic, told Al-Monitor, “The number of graduates from the cinema departments in Iraq ranges between 60-70 students per year.” However, “The number of graduates does not necessarily produce any sort of movement in [Iraqi] cinema. The methodology used in the program is classical and academic, lacking the practical components or measures to keep up with technological developments. Thus, there is a lack of technical personnel capable of making a film.”

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