The Weekend Australian - Review - - Tv -

Heavy Metal in Bagh­dad ( M) Uni­ver­sal ( 84 min­utes) $ 29.95 THE drum­mer in Iraqi heavy metal band Acras­si­cauda ( black scor­pion) doesn’t give a damn about the news; he just wants to rock. That’s eas­ier said than done, of course, when you are the news, or at least your coun­try, your city, your way of life, is in tur­moil. So it is for the mem­bers of Acras­si­cauda, who learn English and draw mu­si­cal in­spi­ra­tion from the likes of heavy metal gods Me­tal­lica and Slayer while prac­tis­ing their riffs in a bat­tle-scarred base­ment. This doc­u­men­tary by Cana­di­ans Eddy Moretti and Suroosh Alvi tracks the for­tunes, such as they are, of Iraq’s only heavy metal band ( or so they say) as they face up to far greater prob­lems than get­ting their amps to go up to 11. Find­ing a gig, for ex­am­ple, is nigh on im­pos­si­ble and even if you get one there are the everyday haz­ards of car bombs and shoot­ings to get through be­fore you con­sider whether any­one will show up to hear you. This low-bud­get af­fair is as much about the direc­tors as it is about the band. Alvi and Moretti trav­elled by cir­cuitous routes to get into Bagh­dad on sev­eral oc­ca­sions through sev­eral years to mon­i­tor Acras­si­cauda’s progress. Speak­ing as some­one who wouldn’t cross my lounge room to hear Acras­si­cauda’s hard­core brand of heavy metal, one can at least ad­mire the pair’s determination. Their film­mak­ing, how­ever, is less re­ward­ing. The film fluc­tu­ates be­tween mu­sic doco and war-zone doco without nail­ing its flag to ei­ther. Aus­tralian film­maker Ge­orge Git­toes said as much about Acras­si­cauda and their plight in 10 min­utes in his film Sound­track to War as this does in 84.

Iain Shed­den EX­TRAS: Fea­turettes; deleted scenes.

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