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International Programme 2013
Broken Record Parine Jaddo

An old pop song, a family, and the history of a country – a personal search for traces in Iraq and a subtle observation of a lost community of religions and ethnic groups.

Broken Record

Documentary Film
Iraq
2012
75 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Parine Jaddo, Rania Malas
Parine Jaddo
Omar Al Dewachy
Nadim Shartouny
Bilal Hibri
You never know what a broken record that’s also hard to find for a long time may be good for … For many years, the Iraqi-Lebanese filmmaker Parine Jaddo led a cosmopolitan existence in and between different countries and cultures. But after her mother’s death she travels to Kirkuk, where her once upper class intellectual family’s roots are, for a research project that is an interesting tangle of private, local, and geo-political contexts. On the surface, Jaddo is looking for a recording from the 1960s of her mother with the musician Dr. Mustafa and the Turkmen Brothers – as the band is called in the English subtitles. Increasingly, the filmmaker’s quest seems more like a stroll over the ruins of a nearly vanished piece of world music – long before the term was used in the first place. Music of which, after no more than a few decades, almost no visible or audible evidence survives.
One senses that the private grief over lost family memorabilia is only a trigger: for the subtle exploration of a once multi-religious, multi-ethnic and overall extremely generous form of coexistence in this Northern Iraqi region.

Ralph Eue

The Black Flag

Documentary Film
Iran,
Iraq
2015
62 minutes
subtitles: 
English

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