Review of Nowhere to Hide (2016)

Moving picture, 86 minutes

Seen in 2017.

A medic’s life in Jalawla, a city in the “triangle of death”, Diyala, central Iraq, from 2011 to 2016.

Seen at GIFF 2017 with the director and editor present for a Q&A. Zaradasht Ahmed explained that he gave cameras and basic training to a dozen medics through the Norwegian surgeon’s network of acquaintances. Nori Sharif is the only one of these appearing in the film because of his fate and because his particular home town is a microcosm of the tensions: It’s got Sunnis and Shias and even Christians, as well as Kurds and Arabs, etc.

Nori repeats throughout the film that he doesn’t understand the war, that it’s “undiagnosed”. In the Q&A, Ahmed explained that Nori wanted to talk about the causes, but doing so on film would have endangered Nori’s life. His house in Jalawla was destroyed on the blind assumption of his support for ISIS (he’s Sunni). The film only mentions in the closing caption that it was destroyed, not why. Ahmed chose instead to focus on the civilian experience of the war, and it’s a pretty solid effort in that regard, given that the cameraman is an obvious amateur.

moving picture non-fiction