Projections - Movie Reviews
With Jim Sabatini


Iraq in Fragments

Iraq in Fragments

Rated: No rating 
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date: November 17, 2006 Released by: Typecast / HBO Films

This three-part documentary filmed in 2005 feels like what really is going on in Iraq, with feeling for US occupation, as well as religious and ethnic tensions.

Directed with much sensitivity to its denizens and foreign intervention by Wesleyan graduate James Longley, Iraq in Fragments is an artistic, insightful eavesdropping.

Initially, one is introduced to a pre-teen Sunni from Baghdad, Mohammed, who loses touch with his free-speaking policeman father. During Saddam's rule, life was relatively placid. But, now turmoil has left him unable to find importance - to find meaning in his life.

Moving south of the capital, more oppression covers up the promise of democracy by the U.S. for the Shias, though they are more fundamentally theocratic themselves. Natural resources are pilfered and unwarranted arrests are on their minds.

The elderly Mahmoud in the northern Kurd region pines for the agriculture while his son Suleiman aspires to be a physician. Strong feelings are against the tyrannical Hussein rule, though anger is directed against the Kurds on whose behalf the US apparently has acted.

This truthful, shame-inducing Oscar-nominated effort doesn't put much emphasis on soldiers, though seen looking good with their sunglasses, whether holding large weapons or riding on tanks. The observation, from the voice-overs to the lyrical, impressionistic camerawork makes one understand how Iraq must remain as one, but in different sects. And, is their situation better than the tortorous reign of the now deceased Saddam. In the final analysis is liberty possible for those whose "hands are being shaked while stabbed in the back."

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Iraq in Fragments       B+       B+

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