Forum (International Premiere)

by Laura Poitras - USA 2009, 96 min.

Director Laura Poitras is available for Interviews on February 12, 13, and 15

THE OATH tells the story of Abu Jandal, Osama bin Laden’s former bodyguard, and Salim Hamdan, a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay and the first man to face the controversial US military tribunals.
THE OATH is an unusual take on the defining story of the last decade, the rise of Islamic terrorism and the various responses to its challenges by the US. Much of it is filmed in Yemen, a country that has recently become the focus of attention in the “war on terrorism’.

The story of Abu Jandal and his brother-in-law Salim Hamdam from Bosnia to Afghanistan, to Guantanamo and back to Yemen acts as an organizing principle for a wealth of material on Al-Qaeda not so much as a terrorist organization, but as a way of life for its followers. Most of the story is told by charismatic Abu Jandal without much editorial comment, allowing the audience to piece together the full story. Abu Jandal’s process from Bin Laden’s bodyguard to CIA source is a second narrative level. Almost like in a psychological thriller, we follow his guilt regarding Salim Hamdam’s imprisonment and the conflicts of loyalty and conscience between the oath of the title and his subsequent choices. The dialectic between Hamdam’s absence in word and image and the great screen presence of Abu Jandal follows both their personal situations after 9/11 and, presumably, their personal dynamics before that event.

PRODUCTION: Praxis Films and ITVS WORLD SALES: Cat & Docs

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