Archives / 2010 Sundance Film Festival

The Oath

Director: Laura Poitras

Institute History

  • 2010 Sundance Film Festival

Description

Unraveling like a lush, gripping novel that constantly subverts expectations, The Oath is the interlocking drama of two brothers-in-law, Abu Jandal and Salim Hamdam, whose associations with al Qaeda in the 1990s propelled them on divergent courses. The film delves into Abu Jandal's daily life as a taxi driver in Sana’a, Yemen, and Hamdan’s military tribunal in Guantanamo Bay prison. Abu Jandal and Hamdan’s personal stories—how they came to serve as Osama bin Laden’s bodyguard and driver respectively—act as prisms through which to humanize and contextualize a world the Western media demonizes. As Hamdan’s trial progresses, his military lawyers challenge fundamental flaws in the court system. As charismatic Abu Jandal dialogues with his son, Muslim students, and journalists, he generously unveils the complex evolution of his belief system since 9/11.

Exquisitely constructed so multiple threads and time periods commingle seamlessly, and gaining astonishingly intimate access to subjects and information, The Oath illuminates a realm too long misunderstood.


(Archives note: see also YouTube Channel.)

— Caroline Libresco

Screening Details

  • Section: U.S. Documentary Competition
  • Film Type: Documentary Feature
  • Country: U.S.A.
  • Language: Arabic and English
  • Run Time: 95 min.

Sundance Film Festival Awards

As you use our Online Archives, please understand that the information presented from Festivals, Labs, and other activities is taken directly from official publications from each year. While this information is limited and doesn't necessarily represent the full list of participants (e.g. actors and crew), it is the list given to us by the main film/play/project contact at the time, based on the space restrictions of our publications. Each entry in the Online Archives is meant as a historical record of a particular film, play, or project at the time of its involvement with Sundance Institute. For this reason, we can only amend an entry if a name is misspelled, or if the entry does not correctly reflect the original publication. If you have questions or comments, please email archives@sundance.org