James Longley’s documentary about the War in Iraq isn’t groundbreaking, but it does put a face on the grim reality of Iraqi life and the mounting anti-American sentiment (“They are worse than 100 Saddams”). The belief that America is there only for the oil resonates from the country’s southern tier to Baghdad and the Kurdish provinces in the north. Each region/religion marks a different chapter. An 11-year-old auto mechanic in Baghdad with no father (he disappeared when he spoke out against Saddam) is unable to pass first grade and gets exploited by his boss. Still more disturbing is the militant Shi’ite theocratic movement led by cleric Moqtada al-Sadr and backed by the feared Mahdi army. The Kurds, meanwhile, remain isolated in the barren hinterland, struggling with their identity. The film offers no commentary, just a stark portrait of a fractured people facing uncertainty.
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