Nowhere to Hide

In 2011 documentary maker Zaradasht Ahmed gave a video camera to Nori Sharif, a nurse working in the central Iraqi city of Jalawla, and asked him to record his life over the next few years as Iraq moved from U.S. occupation to self-rule. Sharif’s footage became the basis for this powerful and wrenching film (2016), which provides a ground-level perspective of the country’s descent into sectarian violence and the subsequent refugee crisis. Ahmed emphasizes the struggle of ordinary Iraqis to maintain a semblance of everyday life amid kidnappings and suicide bombings, and Sharif, who is intimately acquainted with most of the people he profiles, reveals his subjects’ courage and humanity. The film stresses perseverance, so it isn’t entirely despairing, yet it offers little hope for Iraq’s future. In Arabic with subtitles.