Nowhere to Hide


Documentary Films | 2016 | 85 minutes

Stranger Says:

There are some places in Iraq where you just don’t want to be. That’s at least how American soldiers understood it when they dubbed a region south of Baghdad the “Triangle of Death.” The sectarian violence, primarily targeted at civilians, was that bad. But when American forces pulled out of Iraq, Iraqi Norwegian filmmaker Zaradasht Ahmed decided to teach Nori Sharif, a nurse originally from the “Triangle of Death,” how to make a documentary. Sharif agreed to film his friends and neighbors. But Sharif’s story changes when he begins to see more plumes of black smoke from the Jalawla hospital where he works. Sharif and his family become the subject of the documentary as violence from ISIS and various militia groups creeps closer. The footage captured by Sharif is unlike any you’ve seen, and the question he keeps asking himself lingers: “I don’t understand this war,” he says. So who does? Who’s behind it? And why? People with different answers to these questions are still killing civilians caught in the middle of it all. (SYDNEY BROWNSTONE)

SIFF Says:

When Nowhere to Hide took top honors at IDFA, the largest documentary film festival in the world, the jury statement read in part, “There are those films which are wonderful to see and there are films that the world needs to see. The film we [chose] is both of these things. The experience was immersive and left us deeply touched. The director respected the unique perspective that only the subject could have and in doing so he gave us an unprecedented window into the real-life lasting consequences of war.” This first-hand account was filmed over four turbulent years following the American retreat from Iraq in 2011 by an Iraqi nurse named Nori Sharif working in a hospital in Jalawla, in the Diyala province. Using a small video camera given to him by director Zaradasht Ahmed, Sharif documented his daily life and those of his colleagues and patients, until he and his family were themselves forced to flee by the arrival of ISIS in 2014. While the film may not explain the internecine political realities, which remain murky even to the people on the ground, it will make the moral urgency of the refugee crisis crystal-clear.

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Film Credits
Zaradasht Ahmed
SIFF 2017