The relationship between the Islamic world and newspaper cartoons has been a hot international topic ever since the Danish newspaper Jyllandss-Posten published cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammed in 2009. Strangely, Paris-based Syrian director Hala Alabdalla chooses not to mention this incident in her documentary praising the work of caricature artists in Egypt and Syria. Yet she seems to have trouble cutting anything else out. It’s almost unfortunate for Alabdalla that the Arab Spring took place while she was in production, as it causes the director to lose focus on the subject at hand. While most of the interviews are at times fascinating they are uniformly overlong. Alabdalla also appears throughout. The discussion about the recent clampdown on artists after regime change in Egypt provides a pertinent reminder that there is still some distance to go on the road to a more liberal democratic society. A re-edit could yet fashion a strong film from the material. Criticwire grade: D [Kaleem Aftab]
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