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Control Room

Jehane Noujaim, 2004, 84 min.

Startling and powerful, Control Room is a documentary about the Arab television network Al-Jazeera's coverage of the U.S.-led Iraqi war, and conflicts that arose in managed perceptions of truth between that news media outlet and the American military. Egyptian-American filmmaker Jehane Noujaim ( catches the frantic action at Al-Jazeera headquarters as President Bush stipulates his 48-hour, get-out-of-town warning to Saddam Hussein and sons, soon followed by the network's shocking footage of Iraqi civilians terrorized and killed by invading U.S. troops. Al-Jazeera's determination to show images and report details outside the Pentagon's carefully controlled information flow draws the wrath of American officials, who accuse it of being an al-Qaida propagandist. Most fascinating is the way Control Room allows pro-democratic Arabs an opportunity to express views on Iraq as they see it--in an international context, and in a way most Americans never hear about.