In My Mother’s Arms

“This sad, sometimes funny, never sentimental film puts a spotlight on the catastrophic orphan problem that haunts war-torn Iraq.” — David Lewis, San Francisco Chronicle

Year: 2011
Running time: 86 mins

Producers: Isabelle Stead, Atia Jabarah Al-Daradji, Mohamed Jabarah Al-Daradji
Photography: Zahir Kareem, Amar Manaa, Muthar Anaam, Osama Rasheed
Editors: Mohamed Jabarah Al-Daradji, Ian Watson
Sound: Glenn Freemantle
In Arabic with English subtitles
DigiBeta

With: Husham Al Thabe, Saif Salih Husham, Mohamed Wael Husham

Festivals: Toronto, Amsterdam Documentary 2011; San Francisco 2012

This urgent documentary takes us into Baghdad’s most dangerous neighbourhood, where one determined man has taken it upon himself to rescue several dozen orphans from the dangers of the streets and the brutal conditions of state-run orphanages. Renting a small two-bedroom home in Sadr City, Husham Al Thabe does his best to provide a sense of normalcy to children traumatised by violence and warfare, all the while scrambling to raise the funds to keep the makeshift orphanage open. — MM.

“For nine months, the Al Daradji brothers filmed the daily life of the house, capturing the camaraderie between the children, their humble moments of playfulness, their squabbling and their efforts to cope. When the landlord raises the rent, Husham and his kids face possible eviction. To distract from that frightful prospect, the boys stage a musical performance called ‘In My Mother’s Arms’, giving voice to their longing for a mother’s unconditional love – that thing for which they hunger most.” — Rasha Salti, Toronto International Film Festival

NZIFF STAFF PICK: Robyn Harper

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