Oath, The: Risky Political Filmmaking

Oscar-nominated director Laura Poitras's "The Oath" is a singular, audacious documentary political thriller, shot on location in Yemen and Guantanomo Bay. "The Oath" tells the cross-cut tale of two men whose fateful meeting ultimately propelled them on very different courses with Al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, September 11, Guantanamo Bay Prison, and the U.S. Supreme court.

Abu Jandal is a taxi driver in Yemen and a free man, while the man he recruited, his brother-inlaw Salim Hamdan, is the first man to stand trial before the controversial Military Commissions at Guantanamo Bay Prison. Abu Jandal and Hamdan’s intertwined personal trajectories–how they became Bin Laden’s bodyguard and driver respectively–act as prisms that serve to explore and contextualize a world which has confounded the Western media.
 
As Hamdan’s trial progresses, his military lawyers challenge the court system, while back in Yemen the charismatic and elusive Abu Jandal dialogues with his young son, Muslim students and journalists in a chilling revelation of his personal post-9/11 belief system. "The Oath"offers unsettling glimpses of the international impact of the U.S. War on Terror and a rare window into the world of Al-Qaeda.
 
Poitras risked her life to go to Yemen and Guantanomo Bay and get incredible access. Because she has had contact with these former Al Queda members, she has now been placed on the "watch list" at airports.  Recently though, on her way to Berlin, she ended up on the "no fly" list and had to have a government official step in to clear her status.  In a year, when a female director who made a narrative film about the war, here we have another female director who actually went to Yemen, Guantanomo Bay, and Iraq to give us first hand insight as to the impact of this conflict on the people there and those we are fighting.
 
Laura’s previous film "My Country, My Country" was nominated for an Oscar in 2007 for Best Documentary, as she profiled and follows a doctor in Iraq whose family was separated by the war and eventually, he had to flee to Europe.  An important American filmmaker, with "The Oath" she brings us another point of view that is rarely seen. This time, from former Al Queda members, one a "re-educated" reformed Jihadist and the other, a prisoner in Guantonomo Bay who becomes one of the first POW's to have a trial by the Bush regime.  A rare film, "The Oath" brings audiences face to face with members of Al Queda.
 
"The Oath" won the Best Cinematography Award at the 2010 Sundance Film Fest and was stirred controversy at the 2010 Berlin Film Fest.  You will not want to miss this amazing film.
 
Credits
 
Running Time:  96 minutes
In English and Arabic with English Subtitles