A Symphony for a Common Man

Sinfonia de um homem comum

  • José Joffily
  • Brazil
  • 2022
  • 86 min
  • European Premiere
  • Frontlight

The US justification of the invasion of Iraq in 2003 based on Iraq’s supposed possession of weapons of mass destruction has long been debunked. The US government wanted to bring about regime change and secure oil interests. Come what may, there was to be war.

Nevertheless, in A Symphony for a Common Man, it’s shocking to see the US government crush a potentially successful attempt to prevent the war. Negotiations led by José Bustani, director general of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), on Iraq’s accession to the multilateral organization were scuttled. Because Bustani refused to bow to US demands to stop the negotiations, the US government used fake news about mismanagement to pressure the participating countries in the OPCW to remove him from office. The smear campaign was successful.

Nearly twenty years later, Bustani and others involved look back at the American abuse of power as a warning. Bustani still gets emotional when he repeats the resignation speech he gave at the time. As a talented pianist, he finds inner peace in classical music.


  • 86 min
  • color
  • DCP
  • Spoken languages: Portuguese, English
  • Subtitles in: English
José Joffily
Isabel Joffily for Coevos Filmes
Pedro Rossi
Jordana Berg
David Meyer, Pedro Rossi, Jordana Berg, José Joffily

IDFA history

European Premiere

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IDFA history

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