The trailer of The Mauritanian, an upcoming American drama starring Jodie Foster, Tahar Rahim, Shailene Woodley, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Zachary Levi, was released on Tuesday. The film is about a Mauritanian engineer who is detained in Guantánamo Bay after the 9/11 terrorist attacks without a charge or a trial for 14 years .
The film is based on a memoir written by Mohamedou Ould Slahi (played by Tahar Rahim in the film). Slahi, who hails from Mauritania, wrote his memoir Guantanámo Diary after he was detained by the US government in the country’s military prison Guantánamo Bay detention camp in Cuba, from 2002 to 2016. He was arrested in connection with the infamous 9/11 terrorist attacks of 2001, but never charged or given a trial. Slahi worked as an engineer in Germany and returned home in 2000.
Directed by Kevin Macdonald and written by MB Traven, Rory Haines, and Sohrab Noshirvani, The Mauritanian is scheduled to release on February 19, 2021.
The plot, according to the film’s promotional material, will take the viewers through Slahi’s life, in the aftermath of his detention. As he finds a defence attorney Nancy Hollander (Jodie Foster) and her associate Teri Duncan (Shailene Woodley), the story travels in their pursuit of justice for Slahi and shows how evidence uncovered by a military prosecutor, Lt Colonel Stuart Couch (Cumberbatch) leads to a revelation of a conspiracy.
The film is based on a true story.
In a Guardian video posted on the memoir’s website, editor of the book Larry Siems says that Slahi had joined al-Qaeda in the 1990s like many young men to fight against the Communist government of Afghanistan. However, Slahi broke all ties with al-Qaeda after the Communist government collapsed. Hollander, Slahi’s defence attorney, says that he was from a poor family and was at his mother’s house in November 2001 when he got a call from the police to come and be interviewed.
Since then, Slahi disappeared for his family and was never to be found. He was lodged into the Guantánamo Bay detention camp in Cuba in 2002 and was subjected to torture. He was finally released in 2016. Slahi had started to write his memoir in 2005 as a diary which turned detailed into a manuscript and subsequently a memoir.
The memoir was published in 2015 and went on to become an international bestseller. Translated into multiple languages, the book was published in more than 25 countries.
The film is being distributed by STX Entertainment.