Uncle Saddam

Joël Soler.| 67 minutes. Joël Soler Productions.

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


Composed of candid, backstage footage of Saddam Hussein somehow smuggled out of Baghdad, this is a shockingly satirical documentary, a profile so uflattering that its director, Joël Soler, has been the target of numerous death threats in the two years since its first screening. Indeed, until a recent screening at the Amnesty International Film Festival brought it to the attention of Cinemax (which will air it in November), Soler had thought this portrait of America’s worst enemy might never be seen in public again.

If the Bush administration hasn’t yet convinced you that Saddam is a madman, this documentary just might. “Uncle Saddam” — as he’s called here by the children of his overworked interior designer — is clearly a troubled soul: The first thing we hear about him is the rumor that his mother tried to have him aborted. This may or may not account for the sundry and hilarious pathologies revealed in the movie: the deep-seated fear of germs, the fishing trips with hand grenades, the compulsion to erect countless monuments to his own greatness — not to mention his fetish for lace wallpaper.

The filmmaking nearly matches its subject in audacity: Soler provokes the guiltiest laughter at one turn, only to slap the smile off your face with images of maimed and starving Iraqi youth at the next. Backed by a profoundly inappropriate soundtrack of Mideast-flavored techno, Uncle Saddam is the documentary equivalent of The Producers‘ “Springtime for Hitler” routine. It makes The Eyes of Tammy Faye look like The Sorrow and the Pity.

A BETTER WAY TO DO THIS?

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and we can't afford to come up short. But when a reader recently asked how being a nonprofit makes Mother Jones different from other news organizations, we realized we needed to lay this out better: Because "in absolutely every way" is essentially the answer.

So we tried to explain why your year-end donations are so essential, and we'd like your help refining our pitch about what make Mother Jones valuable and worth reading to you.

We'd also like your support of our journalism with a year-end donation if you can right now—all online gifts will be doubled until we hit our $350,000 goal thanks to an incredibly generous donor's matching gift pledge.

payment methods

A BETTER WAY TO DO THIS?

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and we can't afford to come up short. But when a reader recently asked how being a nonprofit makes Mother Jones different from other news organizations, we realized we needed to lay this out better: Because "in absolutely every way" is essentially the answer.

So we tried to explain why your year-end donations are so essential, and we'd like your help refining our pitch about what make Mother Jones valuable and worth reading to you.

We'd also like your support of our journalism with a year-end donation if you can right now—all online gifts will be doubled until we hit our $350,000 goal thanks to an incredibly generous donor's matching gift pledge.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate