Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Mark Cameron Wystrach, Joe Arquette, Patricia Mota, Maurizio Farhad, Telana Lynum
Director: Carl Colpaert
Genres: Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Military & War
A Mexican national, Jesus Feliciano, returning to California from Iraq where he had soldiered in exchange for grant of US citizenship, suffers trauma related to his battle experience and imagines his family life threatened.
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Unconventional Iraq War film worth seeing
GalCalif | Bay Area, CA | 04/07/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This was really a good flim. The truth is that I expected something bad from some of the review comments at other sites about this movie, but when I finally got it and saw it I was actually very surprised how well done it was in reality and what it had to say.
The lead actor was good, and I really liked the supporting actor who played the 'conscience' figure. It isn't some 500 million dollar big Hollywood style movie, but that isn't what independent films are about anyway. I've seen plenty of big budget films that give you nothing to think about even though they spent a whole lot of money (wasted it maybe) to make them. I don't want to give things away, but you should know that it is a lot more subtle than a lot of people describe it to be
It doesn't beat you over the head with politics, but it makes you think about the Iraq war for yourself. It isn't meant to be a slick action film, and it isn't that at all. It's not nearly so much a war movie in the traditional sense as a movie about how a war changes the lives of the people around it. It's also, in spite of what you may think, not so focused on the Iraq war in particular as making observations about war and life which are more timeless than just the Iraq war.
I am trying to not spoil it, as you should see it to decide for yourself, so it is a little hard to be specific. There is a kind of abrupt transition in the 2nd third of the film which at first made me question the director's intent (I actually thought the movie was ending there). When the movie kept on going however, the shift actually helped a lot to explain more of the beginning of the film and it actually got better because of it and gave more meaning to the last third. It worked for me.
I was pleasantly surprised and recommend it."
POLLUSTAFFLE, CINEVEGAS JURY PRIZE WINNER
pollystaffle.com | los angeles | 03/07/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This deeply touching film explores the effects of what soldier Jesus Feliciano saw and did in Iraq. A Mexican national, Jesus joined the army to get his United States citizenship. He felt becoming an American would better himself and his family. This was his chance. The U.S. military told him this was the right thing, so he went and he fought.
Jesus is now returning to his home in California. He is a wounded man. He isn't physically hurt, but he is mentally and emotionally. He is confused, depressed and fearful. He feels guilt and is plagued with anxiety. He has to work through his emotions and finds himself wondering if taking the lives of others is worth becoming a legal American.
Shot on HD with actual war footage cut into the movie, "G.I. Jesus" offers a surreal look at the psyche of soldiers caught in the system trying to better themselves and their families, but shameful of what they've seen, done and have become in the process. Newcomer Joe Arquette plays the lead Jesus and is absolutely amazing. In fact, he and the core cast are brilliant together with more chemistry than the actors of most films. As Jesus gets back to his family, he can not put the war behind him. He sees visions. He has flashbacks. He has nightmares.
Worst of all, he doesn't trust anyone, including his wife Claudia whom he so dearly loves. He refers to her as his Dominican Princess and has a huge image of her on the hood of his car. Played by Patrícia Mota, who reminded me of Asia Argento, Claudia is sexy, but strong. They have an adorable daughter Marina, played here by Tempe, Arizona's Telana Lynum. Mota, Arquette and Lynum are so believable in their roles you could swear at times you are watching a hidden camera of a real family that cared for each other. Claudia and Jesus share a number of sweet moments as a couple and as a family with Marina. But Jesus and Claudia also send each other into fits of rage when they discuss the possibility of Jesus having to go back to fight. He doesn't want to, but he may not have a choice. His hope is he can become a recruiter, but getting people to sign up to do the same thing he has doesn't sit well with him either.
Rounding out the cast was Maurizio Farhad, who essentially plays a hallucination of Jesus. Farhad, who said he sees the film as a soldier's battle with himself, is good as Mohammed. He represents the evil Jesus committed in Iraq. He can be seen as an actual person Jesus killed there or more of a composite of the many lives taken by American soldiers. Mohammed had a family much like Jesus with a small daughter, who was also killed. Since he doesn't know Jesus' name he calls him Joe as in G.I. Joe, which I initially did not catch and had to have it explained. I thought the actor Farhad was accidentally calling Jesus by his real name. Evidentially there was a scene explaining this, but it did not make the final cut. I also didn't catch the symbolic Biblical reference of Jesus vs. Mohammed either, but now see the beauty of it as well.
"G.I. Jesus" was written and directed by Colpaert, who was born in Belgium. I always find it odd when people from other countries understand issues surrounding the United States better than those of us that were born and raised here."