Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Iraq in fragments

Iraq in Fragments; Mohammed is bullied by his guardian/boss, Abu Ziad

Last Friday I went to see James Longley's acclaimed film, Iraq in fragments, at the ICA in London. The film tells three stories: the first of a boy named Mohammed working in an oily workshop in Baghdad. The second chronicles the rise of Moqtada al Sadr in Najaf and Nasariyeh. There is disturbing footage of his militiamen beating up men accused of selling alcohol in one of Nasariyeh's markets, and of the rise of a determined young mullah, Sheikh Aws, on a tannoyed manifesto of anti-American rhetoric. Then finally and thankfully the scene shifts to Kurdistan, where a young man named Suleiman works as a shepherd and in the brick kiln, though his father has plans for him to become an imam. If you want an unsettling portrait of what life was like in Iraq in 2003-04, this is a film you must see.

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