While American forces celebrate the intelligence victory that led to the death of Al-Qaeda leader and cinéma vérité auteur, Osama bin Laden, his extensive video library of unfinished work and side-projects seized by the US operatives has provided a glimpse of another side of this controversial, often provocative filmmaker and mass-terrorist.
Some of the most recently recorded tapes now in US military cinema unit hands are even thought to show that the director/murderer bin Laden was exploring broader narrative themes and looking to move beyond the ‘to-camera threat’ style that he had made his own.
‘What this new material seems to show is an artist-cum-deathmonger at a crossroads,’ commented critic Mark Kermode, ‘a man unsure of how to best represent truth.’
‘Will his camera zoom in and confront the subject with his own rhetoric, or will it zoom out and open the space between subject and camera, leaving the audience with an uneasy sense of abject isolation,’ asked Kermode, ‘It’s edge of the seat stuff – we ask, but are never answered, like Bergman at his best.’
‘And then there is the message that comes through, strangely out of tune with all that is comfortably accepted, and yet we want to believe we understand, that there is a higher view that we can open up to, an intellectual meeting of visuality with our concept of the world. Unmistakably, an affectionate homage to Buñuel.’
But the latest of the newly found videos show that the troubled filmmaker and terrorist-in-decline was confronting his own mortality and the absurdities of existence. ‘His face contorts with anguish at his human pain, his gait sways as he walks, as if troubled in his very underbelly, and then there’s all that baritone cackling at anything that sounds like Burqa,’ said Kermode, ‘basically, it’s Carry On up the Khyber.’
Golgo13 with rickwestwell