Kevin Macdonald: ‘It was obvious Mohamedou has a writer’s soul, but I couldn’t see it as a film’

Translating the story of Mohamedou Ould Slahi’s unjust imprisonment at Guantánamo to screen was a challenge the Oscar-winning director nearly turned down. But then he met the Mauritanian himself

3rd April, 2021
Kevin Macdonald: ‘It was obvious Mohamedou has a writer’s soul, but I couldn’t see it as a film’
Kevin Macdonald, director of The Mauritanian, a story about Mohamedou Ould Slahi’s unjust imprisonment at Guantánamo

The story of Mohamedou Ould Slahi’s arrest by US government agencies and his subsequent imprisonment without trial, as told in his bestselling memoir Guantánamo Diary, seems almost tailor-made for cinema.

During the months following 9/11, the Mauritanian electrical engineer was captured at his home, underwent “extraordinary rendition” and ended up in solitary confinement at the notorious American prison on the island of Cuba. There he was repeatedly tortured until he signed...

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