12-year old As’ad finds a sex doll at a garbage dump in a powerful story about double morals and taboos around sexuality in an Iraq characterized by decades of war.
Brothers As’ad and Taha make a living scavenging for metals and plastic they can sell at a local garbage dump in Baghdad, a place referred to as the «Hanging Gardens», named after the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. One day As’ad finds an American sex doll. He brings it home, to his brother’s shock and disgust. As’ad is met with an ultimatum: Either he gets rid of the doll, or he has to leave his home with the doll. He decides to leave and creates a new home for himself at the garbage dump, where he quickly learns that the doll can be rented out to local men for cash.
The film is carried by a fantastic lead performance by newcomer Hussain Muhammad Jalil. Director Ahmed Yassin Aldaradji has with Hanging Gardens made a powerful debut feature telling the story of double morals and taboos around sexuality in an Iraq characterized by decades of war.
«Hanging Gardens is an excellent film that benefits the most from the story, direction and cinematography, as much as a truly original and meaningful main concept» - Asian Movie Puls
Ahmed Yassin Aldaradji (b. 1986) is an Iraqi director. He is educated at the University of Baghdad. In 2013 he made his first short film, Atfal Allah, and followed as co-director on the short film Stray in 2018. Hanging Gardens is his first feature film and premiered at the Venice Film Festival in 2022 and was later screened at the Red Sea Festival in Saudi Arabia where it won the award for best film.
This film is part of
Original title Janain mualaqa
Country Irak, Palestine, Egypt, United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia
Director Ahmed Yassin Aldaradji
Screenplay Ahmed Yassin Aldaradji, Margaret Glover
Cinematography Duraid Munajim
Producer Huda al Kadhimi, Margaret Glover, May Odeh
Cast Jawad Al Shakarji, Akram Mazen Ali, Wissam Diyaa, Hussain Muhammad Jalil
Runtime 1h 57m
Age limit 15
This film is in competition for the Audience Award.