Since this movie was made, Iraq has been the site of repeated conflict and atrocities — chemical warfare, sectarian violence, a US-led invasion, and now ISIS’ blitz across the country. Many observers wonder whether Iraq will even be able to survive as a single, coherent political unit.
Despite the movie’s aged Orientalist tone, it is still a jarring reminder that nothing in history is inevitable and that there was a time when even one of the world’s most problematic countries seemed like it was on a promising trajectory.
“Ageless Iraq is no longer a remote, isolated country,” the narrator says. “Today she is a main junction linking the east and west” — as these European tourists are meant to prove.
“Ageless Iraq” emphasizes the country’s budding modernity, which is presented as a straightforward boon imported from a more advanced western world.
A disciplined police force is credited with keeping Baghdad running safely …