The top prize-winner at the International Documentary Festival Amsterdam: a first-person account of four turbulent years in the life of a resilient medic and his young family living in Iraq’s ‘triangle of death’.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2017
Nori Sharif was a nurse working at the Jalawla Medical Center in central Iraq when he was first filmed by Kurdish-born director Zaradasht Ahmed. As American troops withdrew in 2011, Nori remained committed to hospital work and cheerful about his prospects. All too soon eruptions of fundamentalist violence made it too risky for the filmmaker to stay, and he handed over the camera to his subject. This compelling film is edited together from the subsequent video diaries in which Nori records his struggle to preserve and protect his young family amidst the destruction of infrastructure and the relentless disintegration of civilised life. We watch as central Iraq, a region dubbed the ‘triangle of death’ by the media, becomes a battleground of shifting conflicts. Nori, his wife and children see their homeland engulfed in violence, confusion and uncertainty about who the enemy is. “This is an undiagnosed war,” he says, his camera surveying the devastation of a car bombing. “All we see are the symptoms.” Intimate and immediate, it’s an unforgettable picture of aspiration eroded but still ardent in the face of mayhem.