Description from TIFF 2006 catalog by Thom Powers:
On September 23, 2003, filmmaker Michael Tucker followed the U.S. Army on a house raid in Baghdad. This raid is depicted in Gunner Palace, the documentary Tucker directed with his wife, Petra Epperlein (shown at the Festival in 2004). Memorably, one handcuffed detainee looks at the camera and says, “I am a journalist,” before an American soldier takes him away.
That was the last Tucker saw of the man until nearly two years later, when they were reintroduced in Amman, Jordan. In The Prisoner or: How I Planned to Kill Tony Blair, this anonymous suspect finally gets a chance to speak. He has a name: Yunis Khatayer Abbas. He has a past: he was tortured by Uday Hussein~s thugs in the late nineties. He has problems.
U.S. Army intelligence became convinced that Abbas was plotting to kill British Prime Minister Tony Blair during his visit to Iraq; Abbas~s employment by British TV in Iraq may have raised this suspicion. After his arrest, Abbas, along with his two brothers, was held at Abu Ghraib and other facilities for nine months and subjected to the full menu of U.S. interrogation techniques. Recounting his experiences of fear, pain and anger, Abbas somehow retains a sense of humour.
The Prisoner employs a comic-book motif, using over 150 illustrations by Epperlein, combined with Abbas~s home movies, declassified U.S. Army documents and other eclectic imagery. American commanders finally admitted the Abbas brothers had no intelligence value. They were released with one word: “Sorry.”
About the directors:
Michael Tucker was born in Honolulu. His Gunner Palace (co-director, 04), screened at the Festival in 2004; The Prisoner or: How I Planned to Kill Tony Blair (co-director, 06) is his latest work.
Petra Epperlein was born in Karl Marx Stadt in the former East Germany and studied architecture in Dresden. Her Gunner Palace (co-director, 04), screened at the Festival in 2004; The Prisoner or: How I Planned to Kill Tony Blair (co-director, 06) is her latest work.
Visit the film’s official website: www.theprisoner.us/
Buy the film: www.amazon.com/