We attended a special screening of Syriana, the new George Clooney film not about Edward R. Murrow, hosted last night by our friend Arianna Huffington, & Lawrence Bender, at Warner Bros. tonight. Q & A after was handled by Arianna & Stephen Gaghan, the writer/director fo the film, who previous won an Oscar for Traffic.
Fascinating film, very timely in its look at US government intervention in Middle Eastern affairs. Not an easy film, no spoon feeding of plot ideas and characterizations, this film makes one really work and think, and that, among its other virtues, made it a really enjoyable experience.
Playing against type, Clooney gained weight and became an 'everyman' schlub, as the CIA operative who, by being the consummate insider, failed to grasp what was going on outside his sphere of influence.
Gaghan answered questions after, and was eloquent, witty, driven, and intelligent in his recounting of the development of the film. His description of actually meeting uberMacher Richard Perle added insight into the deviant thinking and mendacious spirit that has driven the USA's current foray into Iraq, as well as the larger picture of world socio-political dynamics in the Middle East.
While not claiming to be authoritative, Gaghan is insightful and well read re: the Middle East, and offers not so much answers as directions for further discovery and thought.
He concluded his remarks by saying that he was hopeful and positive, that the world was tilting slightly off axis, but that there seemed to be change taking place in a positive direction.
From his lips to God's ears.
Update: Cross posted at Huffington Post here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/steve-anderson/the-eastern-world-it-is-_b_11705.html