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by Lela Scott MacNeil
November 1st, 2010

Last week, I was lucky enough to get to see a preview screening of Chris Morris’s new film, Four Lions, distributed by our friends at the Original Alamo Drafthouse. I can’t remember the last time anything made me laugh so hard. The subject matter is an unlikely one for comedy: jihadist terrorism.  But Morris pulls it off by doing what British satirists have been doing best since Monty Python; forcing society to confront its demons by skewering its most sensitive taboos.

If you extricate the writing and performances of Four Lions from its thorny subject matter, it’s still a hilariously constructed and executed work. When you combine the form with the controversy, the result is brutal and brilliant.

As director Chris Morris says,

“Where’s the joke in terror? Actually, as Four Lions will demonstrate, it’s staring you right in the face. At training camps young jihadis argue about honey, shoot each other’s feet off, chase snakes and get thrown out for smoking. When 9/11 hijacker Mohamed Atta was teased for pissing too loudly, he blamed the Jews for making thin bathroom doors. A minute into his martyrdom video, a would-be bomber grinds to a halt and asks the cameraman, ‘what was the question again?’ Terrorist mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohamed spends two hours looking for a costume that won’t make him look fat on camera…Terrorism is about ideology, but it’s also about berks.”

Lucky for you, this piece of satirical genius is coming to a city near you, so you’ll get the chance to laugh as hard as I did.

If you live in New York City, you’ll get that chance as soon as this week:

Wednesday, November 5th: Special Sneak Preview Screening
Venue: BAM Cinematek
Address: 30 Lafayette Avenue (Ft. Greene Brooklyn)
6:50 PM: Film Begins
8:30 PM:
Q & A with director Chris Morris
Tickets:
$12 online or at the theater

Friday, November 5th: Four Lions Opens at the Angelika
Venue: Angelika Film Center
Address: 18 West Houston St. (@ Mercer)
Tickets:
$12 online or at the theater

Don’t live in New York? See where and when Four Lions will be playing in your town.

Still not convinced? Watch the trailer:

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Rooftop Films is a New York based non-profit whose mission is to engage diverse communities by showing independent movies in outdoor locations, producing new films, coordinating youth media education, and renting equipment at low cost to artists.

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