( 2022, Iraq, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, UK, 117')
As’ad is a twelve-year-old who picks up rubbish in the smouldering dumps of Baghdad. One day, he ends up challenging the values of his fundamentalist and patriarchal community because of his feelings towards a sex doll. Despite his peers’ mishandling of the doll, As’ad humanises, cleans, and dresses her. He names her Salwah, which means ‘comfort’ and ‘salvation’ but the violent and oppressive world around him is not going to let this one go. Adolescent sexuality as experienced by As’ad and his peers takes place on the background of an apocalyptic Baghdad.
Born in 1986 in Baghdad, Ahmed Yassin Al Daradji he is a director and a screenwriter. He has been an alumnus at Berlinale Talents 2018 and at the London Film School, where he received his MA with multi-award-winning short Children of God (2013). He is presenting his debut film Hanging Gardens in the Orizzonti Extra section at the 2022 Venice Film Festival. The film was also selected for the RAWI Screenwriters’ Lab and the Med Film Factory (2017), and it has also been nominated for the Development Award at the El Gouna Film Festival 2018 and the Malmo Arab Film Festival Market Forum 2020.