Iraq In Fragments Review

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A documentary trilogy observing how Iraq has fallen into worse turmoil and instability since the toppling its tyrant leader.


The Iraqi documentary has already been engulfed by clichés and stereotypes. But James Longley's triptych avoids the majority of them in seeking to show how the fall of Saddam has decimated a nation previously held together by the tyrant's terror.

There's something a little arch about the stylistic shifts between these three episodes, with eleven year-old Mohammad's relationship with his fondly abrasive Baghdad mechanic boss being filmed largely in human interest close-up, while the footage of the Shi'ite disciples of Moqtada al-Sadr in Najaf has a reportage feel that contrasts with the travelogue lyricism of the concluding Kurdish episode. But Longley still manages to convey the diverging emotions sparked by the Allied intervention and suggests how difficult it's going to be to forge these belligerently fragmented communities into a viable whole.

Shot over three years, this is one of the more considered and insightful Iraqi documentaries - although some may find its stylistic contrasts a little self-conscious and distracting.