Screened as part of NZIFF 2006
As visceral as Iraq in Fragments is measured, this documentary traces the radicalising effect of the US occupation on one Shi-ite family. The Blood of My Brother brings us into painful proximity with the grief of a Baghdad family whose alpha male Ra’ad is killed – martyred – by US troops while standing guard at a mosque. Ra’ad’s teenage brother Ibrahim struggles desperately in his new role of breadwinner. We see how the cocktail of grief, anger and impotence clearly fuels the burgeoning militancy of young Iraqi men: it’s a short step for Ibrahim into the world of the Mehdi Army, a Shia insurgency inspired by the demagogic cleric Sayid Moqtada al-Sadr. Andrew Berends’ camera brings us as close to these militants as we are ever likely to get. We see them weep, sing, dance – and skirmish with Coalition forces on the devastated streets of Sadr City and Najaf.
“Made with access to the Mehdi Army and embittered citizens the Western news media – or even the CIA – might envy... Andrew Berends creates a revealing insight into the war in Iraq from the locals’ point of view.” — Leslie Felperin, Variety