The Liberace of Baghdad

United Kingdom, Denmark, 2004, 71’, Color

English with Turkish subtitles


Director: Sean McAllister

Cinematography: Sean McAllister

Editing: Ollie Huddleston

Sound: Sean McAllister

Producer: Mette Heide


Held up in a heavily fortified Baghdad hotel the pianist, Samir Peter and the filmmaker Sean McAllister try to survive the “peace” of post-war Iraq.

Samir Peter, once Iraq’s most famous pianist now plays in a half-empty hotel bar to contractors, mercenaries and besieged journalists. In his heyday he described himself as the ‘Liberace of Baghdad’ but today he sleeps in a bricked-up hotel room, too afraid to cross town to his 7 bedroom mansion. His string of western girlfriends has led to his wife and two of his kids leaving for the States. But now Samir has a visa to live in America too, to find fame and fortune there is what he calls his ‘one last adventure in life’. But Sahar, his pro-Saddam daughter hates America for what it has done to her country. She refuses to go and Samir is set to leave alone. Over 8 months of filming the violence escalate out of control, kidnapping is rife and Samir’s neighbor is murdered on her doorstep. Will Samir now sacrifice his American dream for the sake of his family left in lawless Iraq?

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