What happened
The capital of Iraq will host the Baghdad International Film Festival from Dec. 16 to 19. The fest will mainly showcase films from Egypt, Iran, and Jordan. The last film festival in Baghdad was held in 2005 at a hotel, and featured 58 short films by locals. The venue and full lineup for the 2007 fest have yet to be announced.

What the commentators said
The fact that there’s going to be a film festival in Baghdad is a great sign, said Bryan Pearson in Variety. “Since February 2006, when the bombing of a Shiite shrine in the city of Samarra unleashed hideous sectarian violence, which has killed thousands of Iraqis, entertainment in Iraq has been reduced mainly to watching satellite television at home.” But now that “violence in Baghdad has been sharply reduced,” movie fans “in the war-ravaged Iraqi capital will at last be treated to a feast of Arabic and Iranian films.”

Why do we have to look to an entertainment magazine to find out what’s really going on in Iraq? said the blog Libertas. “Variety is doing a better job of reporting on the Iraq War than NBC.” It’s not surprising, though: “Hollywood and the anti-war left would have us abandon” Iraqis “to terrorists and death squads.” What are liberals so afraid of—that “we might actually win this thing?”

Things in Iraq may be improving a bit, said Eric D. Snider in the blog Cinematical, but “locals still aren’t exactly skipping down the streets and tipping their hats to passersby.” It’s unlikely that many Iraqis want to “go out for a night on the town when there’s a good chance” they still “might get, you know, blown up.” And the festival's organizers don’t even have a venue yet, “because the place they used last time, the Al-Mansour Hotel, was the site of a suicide bombing that killed 12 people earlier this year.”