On Her Shoulders

This documentary profiles human rights activist Nadia Murad, a Yazidi Kurd in Iraq who was forced into slavery by ISIS. Director Alexandria Bombach avoids the details of Murad’s brutal captivity, showing instead the intense pressure and responsibility the 23-year-old feels as a spokesperson for her people. As Murad makes the rounds of Western talk shows and prepares to deliver a three-minute speech to the United Nations Security Council, Bombach emphasizes how, even among politicians and diplomats, Murad’s story is often reduced to a sound bite, and she notes the prurient interest of the media and the public as they ask Murad to recount her trauma over and over. Interviews woven throughout the film give Murad the opportunity to speak freely about the ongoing plight of Yazidi refugees, the questions she wishes journalists would ask her, and the questions she’d like them to stop asking.