Friday 12 August 2016

"The Confession" (Guardian 12/08/16)

The Confession ****
Dir: Ashish Ghadiali. With: Moazzam Begg. 96 mins. Cert: 15

The simple framing indicates documentarist Ashish Ghadiali knows he’s hit upon an inherently resonant modern story: for 96 minutes, here is Moazzam Begg, sat in a mock-up interview room, describing how a lad from Birmingham wound up in Guantanamo Bay. Personal and political quickly interweave. Begg’s close-miked words, often battling against the sounds of the war machine, allow us to hear the hurt he felt in being persecuted by intelligence agencies and seeing his adopted home of Afghanistan obliterated after 9/11. Ghadiali is careful to clarify key points – he delicately negotiates Begg’s attempts to reclaim the term “jihad” – while suggesting that relentless interrogation, and the suspicion powering it, might in itself be a call to arms. For his part, Begg appears to have gained an exceptional grasp of nuance from his time in captivity: in this post-Chilcot moment, this principled, consistent testimony, coming as it does from deep within Islam, assumes a rare gravity and a profound moral force.

The Confession opens today in selected cinemas.

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