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Ghoul: re-emerges in Iraq

10-minute 3D animated film 'Baghdad Night' keeps alive ancient folk tale that risks being lost in time.

Ghoul: re-emerges in Iraq
Last Update: 06 September 2013, 13:52

As Iraq rebuilds after decades of brutality, one Baghdad resident is bent on reviving an ancient folk tale that, like much of the country's history, risks being lost in time.
"Baghdad Night" is a 10-minute 3D animated film made against all odds by an Iraqi team led by film-maker Furat al-Jamil. It tells the story of the saalua, a ghoul known across Iraq and the Gulf who also makes a brief appearance in "One Thousand and One Nights".
The saalua is used by parents to scare naughty children, but many now fear its story is fading as Iraq marches into modernity. "I think most Iraqis have forgotten about her, but when I tell them about the saalua, they remember it, and they all smile and are happy, and remember their childhood," said Jamil. The film-maker, born to Iraqi and German parents, grew up in Baghdad. She said "Baghdad Night" was "an introduction to a new kind of cinema in Iraq... an introduction to Iraq".
Jamil hopes her film, almost two years in the making and due for release later this year, will revive a classic tale she fears could be lost. The film aims to give a snapshot of the city and its cultural heritage, but production has suffered from typically Iraqi obstacles -- a lack of electricity, shortfalls in equipment, and staff leaving for better opportunities overseas, reported by EN news.

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