Operation Filmmaker

This gut punch of a documentary will knock you for a loop. File it under "no good deed goes unpunished." When actor Liev Schreiber saw an MTV interview with Muthana Mohmed, 25, a Baghdad film student whose school had just been destroyed by a U.S. bomb, he invited the Shiite to work as an intern on Everything Is Illuminated, the film he was directing in Prague. Nina Davenport came aboard to record Muthana's progress. What she finds is Hollywood at its worst. Schreiber, the good Jewish liberal, treats Muthana as a gofer. Producer Peter Saraf, putting the kid's Bush adoration aside, instructs him in the art of sucking up. Muthana, afraid of returning to Iraq, and getting accustomed to the availability of babes and booze, hustles a job on a zombie movie with the Rock and accuses Davenport of exploiting him for her doc. You won't know whether to laugh or cry. I did both. Phony, it seems, is a universal language.

From The Archives Issue 366: April 1, 1982
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