Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Blood of My Brother

"The Blood of My Brother tells a story of the war in Iraq from a perspective rarely seen. The primary point of view is Iraqi—a family grieving at the tragic death of its eldest son. After years of hard work, Ra’ad, an Iraqi portrait photographer, has saved enough money to open his own shop. On the night of the opening, while volunteering to guard the ancient mosque in Kadhimiya, Ra’ad is shot and killed by an American patrol."

I watched this documentary on a recommendation and was moved by the sincerity and openness of the film. It's a straight up cinema vérité, no tricks. Much of it is appropriately unrefined. Filming with sharp sensitivity, Andrew Berends captures this family's anguish during candid interviews and we understand the impossible grief of losing the oldest son in such a close knit unit. With no father, the family relies on the oldest son for nearly everything from financial security to spiritual guidance. Berends gains the trust of the local uprising and was allowed to film street demonstrations that few Westerners have the privilege of witnessing.

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