Home Page


"Submission, Part I"

Theo van Gogh's last film

Submission Part I is an 11-minute film directed by Theo van Gogh, written by van Gogh and Ayaan Hirsi Ali. It is virulent, anti-Islamic — and sarcastic. It's not funny, nor is it meant to be.

A young Dutch-Arabic woman is dressed in a black burka. She speaks, after an Arabic-language prayer, in English, with Dutch subtitles.

The most annoying feature of the work is that nasty tone of sarcasm. Behind the valley-girl Dutch-Arabic screech-on-the-blackboard voice, there is a script that cuts a nasty swath... with sarcasm.

The woman in the film is the only person on screen but for the ambiguous presence of a somewhat-older woman dressed in burka, occasionally in the background. The set is spare and mostly-black. The young woman has Arabic script on her body, which the camera frequently shows in various ways; on her back, her belly, naked skin through a see-through....

She talks to God. She tells that her husband beats her. It's an arranged marriage; she had loved somebody else. Her uncle raped her. Now she's pregnant. She would like to die. Thank you great God.

It's a powerful short film, but sarcastic and self-consciously provocative.