Baghdad On/Off | Chicago Reader

Baghdad On/Off

Iraqi filmmaker Saad Salman, who's lived in Paris for over two decades, made this 2002 video chronicle of his journey home to visit his dying mother. He engages a driver who brags about having spirited thousands of people out of Iraq but still has considerable trouble getting Salman in. The driver promises to get him to Baghdad “inch' Allah,” an expression that means “God willing” but is also often used to convey passivity and helplessness. Salman's video becomes an almost magical diary of diversions, as he attends a Kurdish wedding (it would have been rude to refuse), visits refugees, and witnesses signs of the regime's brutality—an interview with a man whose ear has been cut off is unforgettable. Finally this roundabout journey becomes an exile's song of longing for a homeland entrapped in tyranny. 86 min. In Arabic with subtitles.

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