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“BATTLE FIELDS” BY ANOUAR H. SMAINE

A new film by acclaimed director Anouar H. Smaine titled “Battle Fields” tells the story of Bobby O’Malley; a US veteran of the Iraq war whose life spirals out of control because of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), and of Rasheed Al Mashta; an Iraqi refugee living in Los Angeles. The two men’s paths cross when Rasheed who drives a Limo for a living, picks up Bobby as a customer and gives him a ride.

As Rasheed’s Limo makes its way through the streets of Los Angeles, a conversation escalates, revealing each one’s background and creating a tension between the two. Talented filmmaker Anouar H. Smaine, who also wrote the script of the movie, skillfully contrasts the differences between the two characters whose races, nationalities, cultures, and perhaps even religions are different, but whose humanity is one.

But the brilliant writing of the film’s script is only one part of this incredibly human story, the acting by the entire cast helped tremendously in expressing the main message of “Battle Fields”: there are no winners or victors in war. Through Bobby and Rasheed’s lives and struggles, the Director (Anouar H. Smaine) calls upon our consciences to see and realize that culture, race, nationality, and even faith, can sometimes suppress what is really important and should be more relevant to us all; our humanity.

While the story takes place far from the Battle Fields of Iraq, War makes its presence felt as the real antagonist in the film. War makes Bobby and Rasheed’s frustration the direct result of the impossibility to find inner peace in a post-conflict world. But through their chance encounter, such status quo is shaken to its core leading the two men to experience some of the most unexpected and life-altering consequences.

The fabulous work of Director of Photography Yan Rymsha injects beauty in the world of chaos and darkness both Bobby and Rasheed live in. A perfect contrast that reminds us how amazing the world can be with life, love, freedom, and peace,  and how human nature sadly contributes to destroying it most of the time. There are two wonderful male performances in this film – one by Anouar H. Smaine who plays Rasheed the Iraqi refugee, and the other by Hollywood actor/filmmaker/TV host Sean Stone (son of legendary filmmaker Oliver Stone), and two great female performances by Emily Rose Debinie as Leila (Rasheed’s wife), and Nikki McCauley as Molly, Bobby’s ex-wife. All delivered powerful and remarkable performances while bringing their respective characters to life on the big screen. It is hard to believe that in real life Actor/Director Anouar H. Smaine has no Arabic  accent and Actor/Filmmaker Sean Stone has no children -that’s how brilliant their work is in this film. “Battle Fields” is an important and timely film with such universal human message for festival audiences and beyond. It definitely deserves the close attention of film festival programmers, the press, and audiences Worldwide as it courageously takes on the devastating psychological effects of PTSD in veterans and civilians alike, as well as the consequences of war on real people’s lives. “Battle Fields” is a very touching film that we highly recommend for everyone.

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