Again this year, Denver Film Festival artistic director Brit Withey is offering his must-see picks for each day of the fest — including many flicks that movie lovers might otherwise miss amid the flood of silver-screen goodies. Today, he spotlights his pick for Tuesday, November 10: War of Lies.
War of Lies
Directed by Matthias Bittner
4:45 p.m. Tuesday, November 10
"This is a topic I thought I was done watching documentaries about," fest artistic director Brit Withey says of War of Lies, a German documentary about the events that led to the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq. "But I guess not." The film centers on Rafed Ahmed Alwan, a petrochemical engineer turned Iranian defector who supplied the American government with false information about WMDs that was used to justify military action; his CIA code name was "Curveball."
On the big screen he's a compelling figure, Withey adds, and one who seems to be speaking with great candor despite his reputation for dissembling. "This is a pretty straightforward interview with this guy, who just sits down and says, 'Here's what I said, here's what I didn't say, here's what I said that was a lie, here's what I said that was a lie and the government knew it was a lie," Withey points out. "He simply unfolds all the information that led to the war in ways that are really fascinating and damning and frustrating.
"We get to see this person without any filters or lenses — and he's completely unapologetic about what he did and why he did it. He just basically says, 'I hated Saddam Hussein. I wanted him to be gone, and I would tell lies and do anything I could for that end to be met — and if I could tell a lie and know the U.S. government would take it and use it as a reason to go to war, that was fine by me.'"
Withey adds: "I didn't have any issues with seeing what he was saying as believable, even as he was saying, 'I'm a liar.'"
Look below to see the trailer for War of Lies. To access all the film festival's selections and purchase tickets, click here.