TrustMovies first covered the amazing film, 20 Cigarettes, back in June of 2011, when it made its New York debut as part of the FSLC’s Open Roads series of new Italian cinema. I was blown away by it then, and seeing it again just recently, it seems even better. Perhaps because I had also, just prior to viewing the film, read the equally important and maybe just a little bit better book on which the film is based.
First published in Italy in 2005, the memoir, Twenty Cigarettes in Nasiriyah, written by Francesco Trento and Aureliano Amadei, and based on the experiences of Signore Amadei, who was invited by a filmmaker and mentor to come to Iraq and help make a film about the Italian contingent (part of George W. Bush’s Coalition of the Willing) and its “peace-keeping” mission in the middle east.
The book is told in the first-person, making it a kind of you-are-there experience which grows more important, immediate and shocking as it moves along.
I cannot recommend either the book or the movie highly enough. Both are better than anything else I have seen or read about America’s misadventure in the Middle East. I believe they will remain as important a testament to our current times as anything you might peruse. Iraq, meanwhile, continues to fall apart from within and without, while America further declines into a non-democratic nation dedicated to the well-being of the entitled one-per-cent at the expense of the rest of us ninety-niners.
Read James van Maanen’s full review: