Production company: Ishtar Iraq Film Production
World premiere: Venice FF 2022 – Orizzonti Extra
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.
Director: Yassin Al-Daradji
Writers: Ahmed Yassin Al Daradji, Margaret Glover
Editor:Kamal El Mallakh
Producer:Huda Al Kadhimi
Co-Producers:Margaret Glover, Odeh Films (May Odeh), Ahmed Yassin, Mohamed Hefzy, Daniel Ziskind
Cast: Wissam Diyaa, Jawad Al Shakarji, Hussain Muhammad Jalil, Akram Mazen Ali
World Sales: True Colours