Connie Nielsen and “The Situation” and “Battle in Seattle”

Nielsen and Film Profile

   Paul Liberatore 

“Congress is trying to decide how to leave Iraq and undo this mess that cannot be undone,” she said, her voice inflected with a faint Danish accent. “It’s incredibly important for everyone to try to find out what’s going on over there as much as possible. I think our movie is trying to give as wide open a portrait of the situation there as we possibly can.”

Director Philip Haas (“Angels and Insects,” “Up at the Villa”) shot “The Situation” in 2004 on location in Morocco on a minuscule budget of $1.4 million, which would just about cover the catering bill for a Hollywood blockbuster.

It’s clear that this film was a labor of love for him, Nielsen and the crew, many of whom were volunteers – technical people who were shooting the studio picture “Babel” in another part of Morocco at the same time that Haas was filming “The Situation,” donating their services to him.

Sean Penn, who has been to Iraq twice and reported on what he saw there, spoke at a special screening of “The Situation” at the Rafael Film Center for members of the San Francisco Film Institute. He pronounced it “very authentic.”

“What struck me is how real it is,” he said. “It brings the Iraq that I saw to the screen.”

Nielsen has another politically charged movie, “Battle in Seattle,” again an independent film, this one about the World Trade Organization protests, set to come out in the spring or summer. Coincidentally, she plays another journalist, this time a cynical TV reporter spinning “a corporate kind of truth.”

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