Director Chris Morris talks about his controversial new “jihadi satire,” Four Lions, a bleak, black comedy that explores the undeniably farcical side of terrorism! Four Lions—which has been justifiably compared to This is Spinal Tap and Dr. Strangelove—in the words of the director, “understands how terrorism relates to testosterone. It understands jihadis as human beings. And it understands human beings as innately ridiculous.” Now in theaters, released by Drafthouse FIlms.
Last week an email blast went out about a special LA screening at Cinefamily of British satirist Chris Morris’s new, uh, “terrorist comedy”—for what else could you call it?—Four Lions. The director would be present, a rare appearance indeed, by Morris on these shores. I’d already seen the film, but getting to hear Morris talk about his work in person was not an event I was going to miss.
I attended the packed and enthusiastic screening with my good friend, Xeni Jardin, who conducted a terrific interview with Chris Morris that she posted today on Boing Boing:
Xeni Jardin: When I first heard about this film I thought: Chris Morris has spun a comedy from of a sad and serious subject. After seeing the film, and now hearing you talk, it seems that the comedy was all there—it’s just not politically correct to bring it to light.
Chris Morris: I suppose, in a way. Look, the cartridges that were bombs, that were intercepted in the FedEx parcel bombing attempt last week—the guy who made those bombs turned his brother into a bottle rocket last year. That whole group are basically displaced Saudis in Yemen. They don’t like the Saudis. This guy wanted to blow up a Saudi prince. And he persuaded his brother to use a suppository bomb. The suppository bomber turns up at the Saudi prince’s place, says hello to the Saudi prince, pulls out a trigger, fires off the bomb, then blasts himself vertically, straight through the ceiling. The Saudi prince picks himself up and says, “Right, now then, where was I?” And that’s the end of that. It’s a perfect sight gag. For everyone other than the guy’s mother, it’s a funny story.
Four Lions opens tomorrow in selected American cities.
The trailer for Chris Morris’s Jihadi comedy “Four Lions” went up today (the film has already shown at Sundance). Guardian review also attached below.
Chris Morris is still the most incendiary figure working in the British entertainment industry. Even if you have not read reports of Four Lions’ premiere at Sundance, it should come as no surprise that Morris – the man behind surreal short film My Wrongs 8245-8249 and 117, and the TV series Nathan Barley, has taken on arguably the most bad-taste subject imaginable: a cell of homegrown jihadi bombers, feverishly plotting martyrdom from terrace houses in Doncaster.
The title is offered up with sledgehammer irony: our crew of wannabe killers are as fervent as football fans, and at one point — in a parody of the 7/7 tube bombers’ group hug caught on a station surveillance camera — cuddle up and chant motivational phrases.
But of course it’s as contrary an idea as everything else Morris sets up: these are anti-patriots of the most unmistakable kind. Added to which, there are actually five of them. Omar (Riz Ahmed) is the intense, coiled-spring leader, Fessel (Adeel Akhtar) his clueless, dozy lieutenant; Waj (Kayvan Novak), an easily confused bruiser; harmless-looking Hassan (Arsher Ali), a late sub when one of the others enters heaven a little earlier than planned; and Barry (Nigel Lindsay), — the most bizarre of all the “lions” — a Caucasian convert to Islam with a streak of ferocious invective and penchant for little hats.
New clip just went online for infamous satirist Chris Morris’ eagerly-awaited jihadist comedy film “Four Lions.” The film promises to be a “light-hearted look” at English domestic terrorism. Morris’ past track record includes the faux-news shows “The Day Today” and “Brass Eye” (largely the inspiration for “Ali G” and “The Daily Show”) as well as the insomnia-fever-dream comedy “Jam.” Can’t wait for this one.