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Thursday March 27, 01:25 AM

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"Uncle Saddam" satire gets DVD release

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A satirical documentary that portrays Iraqi President Saddam Hussein as a personal hygiene fanatic who likes to fish with grenades is getting a timely first time DVD release in the United States next week.

"Uncle Saddam", made by French freelance journalist Joel Soler in 2000, received critical acclaim at international film festivals two years ago and resulted in death threats against Soler at his Los Angeles area home.

Distributors Xenon Pictures say the timing of the April 2 DVD release during the U.S.-led war raging in Iraq, is mere coincidence, but hope the documentary will give Americans "a candid look at the enigmatic Iraqi tyrant."

The DVD package includes an interview with Soler, a "100 percent anti-Saddam" sticker and a pack of "dictators of the world" trading cards.

"One of the best ways to confront evil is to laugh at it," Xenon Pictures vice president Stephen Housden said on Wednesday. "We hope that 'Uncle Saddam' will appeal to the naturally curious, anyone who wants to know what has been going on in Iraq, and any student of the human psyche."

Soler's film was compiled from footage he smuggled out of Iraq during a visit there on the pretext of chronicling the nation's suffering under U.N. sanctions.

He won rare access to Saddam and the film includes shots of the Iraqi president being kissed on his armpit, showing off his vast collection of hats and fishing at a country lake by throwing hand grenades into the water.

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