Is there a more prophetic documentary, or title, than James Longley’s visionary "Iraq in Fragments"? More than eight years since the film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2006, Longley’s impressionistic and visceral glimpse of life in Iraq has never felt more resonant. Over at Keyframe Daily, I wrote a story that reflects on the award-winning Sundance documentary, given the current divisions that are tearing apart Iraq. Here is an excerpt below. Read the entire piece at the link.
"When Longley traveled to Iraq after the fall of Baghdad and began to film Iraq in Fragments in 2003, the country was in a very different place: American tanks rolled through the streets; anti-American sentiment was heating up; and the Iraqi people were struggling to redefine themselves in the absence of Sadaam Hussein and under the occupation of U.S. forces. Though each segment of 'Iraq in Fragments' is very different in its characters and tenor, the three parts express the prescient theme of self-determination—there’s a wonderment and frustration among the people about their future and who will have power in post-Sadaam Iraq."
"The film’s focus on the Iraqis may be one of the reasons the documentary still holds up so strongly today. Just as U.S. forces have come and gone, so, too, do they recede from Longley’s frames. Because, after all, it’s the Iraqis who still live there, trying to figure out how to redefine their country."