Source: Victoria Advocate.
Kurdish/Norwegian filmmaker Zaradasht Ahmed (“Road to Diyarbakir”) takes viewers directly into Iraq’s “triangle of death,” an area south of Baghdad that has become known as one of the most dangerous and inaccessible places in the world.
The film takes place during the five years following the American and Coalition troops withdrawal from Iraq in 2011 as 36-year-old male nurse Nori Sharif is given a camera to document daily life in the tumultuous Diyala province. What starts out as a documentary about hope for the country’s population quickly turns into a film about survival as Sharif, his wife, and four children are forced to flee their home after being caught in the crossfire of the Iraqi militias and the growing threat of ISIS.
The documentary opens with a brief prologue in the Diyala Desert where Nori describes his family’s current condition (the children are sick from lack of water) and their need to keep moving in order to survive. The timeline then jumps back three years as we watch Nori save the life of a wounded man in the back of an ambulance on the way to the Jalawla hospital. The American troops have just pulled out of the country and the Iraqi army is seen patrolling the streets promising to keep the residents safe. It’s the beginning of a new era filled with hope and promise as Nori and his brothers and sisters celebrate a liberated Iraq.
A year goes by and the situation in Iraq has changed drastically. Violence and corruption has escalated and in just one month 1,840 Iraqis are killed. Kidnappings, beheadings, and car bombs become a daily occurrence across the region leaving the local residents confused and in disbelief. One man being interviewed explains “In our history this is not normal. I cannot understand it.” As the region becomes unstable, Ahmed is forced to flee the area while Nori remains to document the growing escalation of violence between the local militia and the new threat of ISIS.
The documentary is a brave portrait of a man who goes from helping others while documenting their plight to an autobiographical film as Nori is forced to turn the camera on himself while relocating his family from one location to another in order to keep them safe. They eventually wind up at the Sa’ad IDP Camp joining scores of other homeless Iraqis who have become refugees in their own country.
“Nowhere to Hide” is a captivating documentary that should be seen by everyone to get a better understanding of the tragic situation in the Middle East. Above all the film is a testament to the human will to survive as the Iraqi people continue to hope despite their struggles and suffering.
“Nowhere to Hide” opens today in New York and on June 30 in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Toronto, and Vancouver.