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Control Room

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Product Details

  • Actors: Samir Khader, Josh Rushing, George W. Bush, Hassan Ibrahim, Deema Khatib
  • Directors: Jehane Noujaim
  • Writers: Jehane Noujaim, Julia Bacha
  • Producers: Jehane Noujaim, Abdallah Schleifer, Alan Oxman, Andrew P. Hurwitz, Andrew Rossi
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: Arabic, English
  • Subtitles: Arabic, English, French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Noujaim Films
  • DVD Release Date: October 26, 2004
  • Run Time: 84 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (113 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002X8U4I
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #86,017 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Control Room" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Control room is a rate film that is both timely and timeless: timeless because it ecplores the ancient and complex relationship between the western and Arab worlds timely because it reveals how satellite television has changed the way wars are reported- from news providers driven by the patriotism of their audiences to army information officers driven by military objectives. Control room is a seminal documentary that explores how truth is gathered presented and ultimately created by those who deliver it.System Requirements: Running Time 86 MinFormat: DVD MOVIE Genre: DOCUMENTARIES/MISC. Rating: NR UPC: 031398169321 Manufacturer No: 16932


Startling and powerful, Control Room is a documentary about the Arab television network Al-Jazeera's coverage of the U.S.-led Iraqi war, and conflicts that arose in managed perceptions of truth between that news media outlet and the American military. Egyptian-American filmmaker Jehane Noujaim (Startup.com) catches the frantic action at Al-Jazeera headquarters as President Bush stipulates his 48-hour, get-out-of-town warning to Saddam Hussein and sons, soon followed by the network's shocking footage of Iraqi civilians terrorized and killed by invading U.S. troops. Al-Jazeera's determination to show images and report details outside the Pentagon's carefully controlled information flow draws the wrath of American officials, who accuse it of being an al-Qaida propagandist. (The killing of an Al-Jazeera reporter in what appears to be a deliberately targeted air strike is horrifying.) Most fascinating is the way Control Room allows well-meaning, Western-educated, pro-democratic Arabs an opportunity to express views on Iraq as they see it--in an international context, and in a way most Americans never hear about. --Tom Keogh

Customer Reviews

The film, a documentary about the Al-Jazeera network by Jehane Noujaim, does make a few very simple points.
Jean E. Pouliot
Control Room is an excellent documentary about the Arab news organization Al Jazeera which has become the dominant news organization in the Arab world.
Christine Tynes
Wow One of the things I really, really liked about this documentary is that it isn't out from the get go to demonize anyone.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

174 of 189 people found the following review helpful By Linda Linguvic HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 27, 2004
Format: DVD
This award winning 2003 documentary tells the story of the war in Iraq from the point of view of Al Jazeera, the television network that brings the news to 40 million people in the Arab-speaking world. Many of the challenges it faces are shared by journalists everywhere. They risk their lives to bring a story to the people. And they are all under pressure to spin the story to their employers' wishes.

The viewer meets the people who produce this news network. There's the director Samir Khader, the chain smoking and cynical head of the organization. He freely admits he'd be willing to work for Fox News if offered the job and wants to send his children to America for their educations. There's Hassan Ibrahim, a former BBC correspondent. He's a well-spoken pudgy man with a clear mind, who sees the world through a slightly different filter that I do. And a lot of what he says makes sense challenging my perceptions on a very human level. There's Deema Khatib, one of the Al Jazeera staff members, whose playful expressive large brown eyes sparkle with a great sense of humor, She's unveiled and modern and obviously well educated. Then there is Lieutenant Josh Rushing, who clearly is doing his best to explain U.S. policy. He's blue eyed and personable and very American and has a calm demeanor and a high intellect. His interchanges with Al Jazeera personnel show a depth of understanding for all sides of the question. And yet he is steadfast in his support of America.

The film begins in March 2003 as American troops invade Iraq. Al Jazeera shows pictures of the casualties. The American news media does not. Al Jazeera is fast to point out some troubling realities of American foreign policy.
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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Amber N. King on October 5, 2004
Format: DVD
This documentary is spell binding and without spin.... It was an instant-replay to the start of the war all over again from an unfiltered lens, most refreshing. Michael Moore had all the fireworks and media blitz but this little gem had all the details. This is truely a movie to celebrate the free speech and to gain an understanding of others. America it's time to take off the blinders and re-evaluate our country and what it means to all of us. Cheers to Jehane and her crew for making such an important piece of film.
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Ed Uyeshima HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on October 23, 2004
Format: DVD
Having just seen Robert Greenwald's "Outfoxed" about the media manipulation we are subjected to by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp, specifically the Fox Network, this eye-opening documentary is a fascinating counterpoint from the perspective of the famous and sometimes infamous Middle East news agency, Al-Jazeera. I cannot think of two more diametrically opposite news agencies reporting on the events in Iraq, but the key difference between them is that Al-Jazeera appears to admit to their biases rather than claim to be "fair and balanced". What is more startling is how much more similar they are in operation than they are different in their presentation of political opinion disguised as facts. Obviously filmmaker Jehane Noujaim takes a more sympathetic portrait of Al-Jazeera and does supply clear evidence where Al-Jazeera is right and the American government is wrong on certain Iraqi events. As an overview of the first independent and now most popular news channel in the Middle East, the film takes a hard look at the key milestones from Bush's threat of invasion through the toppling of Saddam Hussein.

One would think Michael Moore funded this documentary from the damning evidence presented, but Noujaim is nothing but thorough in illustrating the Bush administration's changing rationales for invading Iraq, the use of fear in the media to manipulate public opinion, the martyrdom of Jessica Lynch, the card deck identifying the most wanted men in Hussein's regime, and the suspiciously coincidental bombing deaths of three different Arab journalists on the same day by American planes. Al-Jazeera's perspective is unsurprisingly countered by Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld, who accuses the news agency of faking pictures of civilian deaths.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By mirasreviews HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 29, 2004
Format: DVD
"Control Room" is a revealing look behind the scenes of Al-Jazeera Satellite Channels' coverage of the war in Iraq, from the American buildup to invasion in March 2003 until shortly after Baghdad was captured. Al-Jazeera was founded in 1996 as the first independent television news network in the Arab world. It's Western style coverage quickly made the Al-Jazeera persona non grata is several Arab nations for covering viewpoints critical of government policies. Al-Jazeera takes the view that objectivity is impossible to achieve in news coverage, and it is dangerously naive to think otherwise. At least in theory, the network attempts to give voice to all sides of the issue, encompassing all biases. If everybody hates them, Al-Jazeera believes it's doing it's job. If only one side hates them, their coverage must be inexcusably biased. I should mention that this is a typical Arab perspective on the news media. And it's certainly how things worked out with the United States. President Bush has accused Al-Jazeera of being "the mouthpiece of Osama Bin Laden", while Iraq banned Al-Jazeera for broadcasting "American propaganda".

"Control Room"'s director Jehane Noujaim, whose last documentary was "Startup.com", is half American and half Egyptian. The film's producer and cinematographer, Hani Safama, is half Bosnian and half Egyptian. "Control Room" not only shows the other side of coin, the what and why of Iraq war coverage by an Arab network, but the film contemplates the role of the media in modern warfare. Jehane Noujaim obtained daily access to two Al-Jazeera employees, whom we get to know well over the course of the film. Samir Khader is a world-weary, stressed-out Senior Producer at the network.
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