No matter how much they have read or seen about the situation in Iraq
since the US invasion in 2003, it is unlikely most American viewers will have
encountered anything like French-Iraqi director Abbas Fahdel’s Homeland:
Iraq, a monumental but startlingly intimate look at life in Baghdad and the
Iraqi countryside before and after the fall of Saddam Hussein. Filming his own
brothers and sisters and, most memorably, his vivacious young nephews and
nieces, Fahdel provides an unforgettable documentary portrait of everyday life
in the shadow of war. The film is divided into two feature-length parts: Before
the Fall follows the middle-class family’s preparations for war, while After
the Battle finds the director’s family members serving as guides through the
chaos of a post-invasion city in which ordinary citizens are caught between
a trigger-happy occupying force and unbridled violent crime. Fahdel is at his
most masterful in seamlessly weaving in history and providing context for the
tragedy of the Iraqi people: in the first part, the memory of the first Gulf War
is omnipresent, while in the second part, tongues are loosened by the fall of
Saddam and the terrible human cost of his regime is revealed. A heartrending
reminder of cinema’s ability to create empathy and understanding across
borders, Homeland: Iraq is as close as the movies come to providing the viewer
with a moral obligation to watch.
Part 1 – Before the Fall: 160 min.
Part 2 – After the Battle: 174 min.
Blu-Ray, DCP, DVD