Film Review: NOWHERE TO HIDE (Sweden/Norway/Iraq 2016) ***

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nowhere to hide.jpg“Nowhere to Hide” follows a man – the medic and father Nori Sharif – through 5 years of dramatic change in the war-torn Diyala-province.

Director: Zaradasht Ahmed
Writer: Zaradasht Ahmed
Stars: Abu Fallah, Hans Husum, Mudhafar

Review by Gilbert Seah

At the start of the film the director films Nori Sharif, a 13-year veteran male nurse working at the Central Iraqi hospital. Nori is offered a camera to shoot what life among his people are like after the Americans have left Iraq (in 2011), and the people left to rule themselves.

Despite Nori Sharif’s first time behind the camera, what unfolds is a very disturbing yet true picture of the sufferings of his people.

NOWHERE TO HIDE follows the medic and father Nori Sharif – through 5 years of dramatic change in the war-torn Diyala-province; one of the most dangerous provinces in the middle of Iraq. From the time of the American retreat to the fall of Nori’s home town, the audience learn stories of survivors. In a world trapped between ISIS and the different Iraqi Militias, his integrity and humanitarian vision is the only thing that drives him to continue against all odds. All this occur in one of the worlds most dangerous and inaccessible areas – the “triangle of death” in Central Iraq. The triangle of death was made famous in the Jonah Hill film WAR DOGS.

The Americans have invaded Iraq. The Americans have left Iraq. Yet there is always a war going on and people blown up and injured. The big question being asked as the film rolls on is what the war or wars are all about – who is fighting whom and how did it all get started. It is obvious from the film that the people, especially the ones featured here in Central Iraq suffer much more since the Americans have left. The question is finally posed one third through the film with Nori and a white medic talking about it. The answer is clearly that no one knows. All they can say is that it is always one tribe fighting another and the fighting tribes change very year or so. Without finding the source of the fighting, no solution can be easily sought.

One disturbing scene is the aftermath of a car bomb. The car is burnt to bits with the camera showing every burnt section it. This is done by a sticky bomb, the audience learns, the size of a cell phone that was placed behind the driver’s seat. Fortunately the driver saw it thus saving his own and children’s lives. Another scene has a surviving suicide bomber brought to the hospital without limbs, after blown away by the bomb.

NOWHERE TO HIDE is as the title implies, the dilemma of the Iraqis as they have nowhere to go. It only underlines the fact of how fortunate most of are to be living in a peaceful country like Canada, while making us wonder what we can do to help the situation of these people.

The film has so far a good number of awards around the world like the – Best Feature Documentary at IDFA and the Best Documentary at One World Human Rights Film Festival.


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