Iraq in Fragments DVD Review
by Kam Williams
DVD Documentary Depicts Postwar Iraq as Hopelessly Divided
In the wake of World War I, when the League of Nations granted Great Britain the area of the Middle East then known as Mesopotamia, a new nation was created by cobbling together lands containing a trio of incompatible ethnic groups: the Shiites, the Sunnis, and the Kurds. Now some 90 years later, Irag appears to be on the brink of breaking back up into three separate entities, the Bush Administration's self-congratulatory pronouncements about having brought democracy to the region notwithstanding.
Anyone interested in a reality check about the region need only check out Iraq in Fragments, a sobering documentary which delineates the dire prospects of a land rapidly losing any semblance of peace, patience, or hope for civilized discourse. Presented in three parts from the Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish perspectives, the movie makes it clear that none of these groups considers itself to be better off since the American invasion.
The subjects interviewed here may have some hostility for members of other minorities, but they all appear to hate America more, even the Kurds. They uniformly desire that the occupiers to leave, because it has become clear to them that the United States' only interest is in securing the oil, not the well-being of Iraqis.
Besides analyzing this political tug-of-war, the film features a few up close and personal vignettes. The first revolves around an 11 year-old orphan who is being exploited by the abusive owner of an auto repair garage. The second shows some of mullah Muqtada al-Sadr's henchmen carting off, at gunpoint, a merchant they suspect of selling liquor. The final segment shows fed-up Kurds saying they were actually better off under Saddam.
A heartbreaking assessment of Iraq's reconstruction from the point-of-view of its intended beneficiaries.
Excellent (3.5 stars)
In Arabic, Kurdish and English with subtitles
Running time: 161 minutes
Studio: Typecast Releasing
DVD Extras: Director's commentary, interview with the director, short films, and trailer.
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