Film Archive

The Black Flag

Documentary Film
62 minutes

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Majed Neisi
Majed Neisi
Mahvash Sheykholeslami
Majed Neisi
Mani Hashemian
October 2014, the Shiite militia attack a small town in Southern Iraq that’s occupied by IS terrorists. Among the militiamen is the Iranian director Majed Neisi, armed with his camera. “Black Flag” is a rough, direct and extraordinarily authentic film about a war of whose reality we have no idea.

Take the fighters, for example: volunteers who are Shiite believers following their religious leader’s fatwa, untouched by doubt. They take the director to the seat of the former IS Sharia court. People were condemned here, decapitated there – “our cause is just”. Or the logistical problems: where do you get explosives, missiles, ammunition? A price is negotiated on the phone, 400 dollars for 1,000 rounds. A private donator pays. And finally the attack: the militia must move through a dense palm grove. There’s shooting and screaming everywhere, grenades hit, mines are dug out with bare hands, a bulldozer cuts a swath through the trees. The camera, always in the wake of the fighters, can hardly follow the chaotic events. Suddenly it’s over and the dead are carried away.

This is not war reporting but documentary work at the limit. For, as the director says, what else can he contribute to the fight against ISIS? He deserves the highest respect for this.

Matthias Heeder