Watch the evening news and you get a view of Iraq from high above the wreckage. In this fascinating doc, director James Longley shows us how things look on the ground. Iraq in Fragments presents a tri-fold, intimate portrait of a country in turmoil, via a fatherless eleven-year-old boy in Baghdad, supporters of religious leader Moqtada Sadr in Naserijah, and an elderly farmer in the Kurdish north. Their voices amount to a revelation.
There is no grand editorialising, here; instead, Longley lets his subjects tell their own stories. So we so follow 11-year-old Mohammed into work at a mechanic's garage, where the owner, Haithem, says the US invaders are motivated only by oil. We ride with armed Islamists in Naseriyah as they purge alcohol sellers from the local market, and organise local elections meant to push out US-appointed officials. And we live with a rural Kurdish father who dreams of peace and hopes his son might become a doctor.
"A MOVING PORTRAIT"
It's exhilarating, at first, to feel oneself immersed in these lives. What emerges, though, is a moving portrait of the many and tangled human implications of the invasion. In Baghdad, Mohammed struggles with his school work as US helicopters low-fly overhead and says "everything is scary now,"; but Kurdish farmers in the north breathe easier with Saddam gone. Meanwhile, inhabitants of Naserijah fear the Islamist followers of Sadr will constitute a new oppression. Iraq In Fragments is a timely reminder that after all the talk of dodgy dossiers, death tolls, and exit strategies, there remains only the fact of daily life for ordinary Iraqis, and their attempts to live it as best they can.