The Oath (image 1)

Outstanding... The Oath is a film about a man who is an enigma – and about the confusion, not the clarity, that is the aftermath of 9/11.

Ella Taylor, Village Voice

Screened as part of NZIFF 2010

The Oath 2010

Directed by Laura Poitras

Absorbing, challenging critique of the ‘War on Terror’ interweaves the stories of two brothers-in-law: one Osama bin Laden’s former bodyguard (now driving a cab in Yemen), the other a Guantánamo Bay prisoner charged with war crimes.

USA In Arabic and English with English subtitles
96 minutes Colour and B&W / DigiBeta

Director

Photography

Kirsten Johnson
,
Laura Poitras

Editor

Jonathan Oppenheim

Music

Osvaldo Golijov

With

Salim Hamdan
,
Abu Jandal

Festivals

Sundance, Berlin, SXSW, New Directors/New Films, San Francisco 2010

Elsewhere

“Filmed over a two-year period, The Oath interweaves the stories of Abu Jandal, Osama bin Laden’s former bodyguard (now driving a cab in Yemen), and Salim Hamdan, a Guantánamo Bay prisoner charged with war crimes. Filmmaker Laura Poitras takes us deep inside the world of Al Qaeda, Guantánamo, and US interrogation methods through a dramatic structure filled with plot reversals, betrayals, and never-before-seen intelligence documents… Shading the complexities of her subjects in the manner of great novelists, Poitras delivers an intimate portrait that precludes easy conclusions as it questions the methods of America’s war on terror with uncommon eloquence.” — New Directors/New Films.

“Poitras takes on the very notion of pledging an oath and what it means for a thinking, constantly transforming individual to swear loyalty to an idea or an institution that itself undergoes ideological shifts… Compelling, emotionally and intellectually complex, The Oath is an important film that raises questions we must all ask.” — Irina Leimbacher, Film Comment