Abbas Fahdel

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Abbas Fahdel on the set of Dawn of the World

Abbas Fahdel (Arabic عباس فاضل) is an Iraqi-French film director, screenwriter and film critic, born in Babylon, Iraq.

Based in France since the age of 18 years, he studied cinema at the Sorbonne University until Ph.D.

In January 2002, he returned to Iraq with a French passport and filmed a documentary film, Back to Babylon (film), in which he asked himself: "What have my childhood friends become? How have their lives changed? What would my life have been like if I hadn't chosen to build my destiny elsewhere?" The country's dramatic situation is the background of this introspective investigation.

One year later, in February 2003, when a new war seems imminent, Abbas Fahdel returned to Iraq with the intention of filming his family and friends, and the superstitious hope of protecting them against the dangers threatening them. When the war started, he returned to France and lost all contact with his family. Two months later, he again returned to Iraq and discovered a country shaken by violence, the nightmare of dictatorship replaced by chaos, but a country where, nonetheless, everything remains possible: the best or the worse. This historical moment is the theme of his second documentary film, We Iraqis.

In 2008, he directed the feature film Dawn of the World, a war-drama in which he gives an unexpected account of the multiple impacts of the Gulf Wars and how they have dramatically damaged an area known to be the geographic location of the biblical Garden of Eden.

In 2015, his new film Homeland (Iraq Year Zero), a monumental documentary of 334 minutes, is awarded at Visions du réel - Nyon International Film Festival.


Abbas Fahdel on the set of Dawn of the World

Short films:

  • Things in the shadow
  • Weegee’s World
  • Sunday at a suburban café


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