Documentary Films | 2016 | 79 minutes
Stranger Says:The thirtysomething director, Hogir Hirori, leaves peaceful Sweden and his pregnant wife and returns to his homeland, Kurdistan, to make a documentary about the refugee catastrophe caused by the gang called ISIS. At the beginning of the doc, Hirori interviews both refugees, who are Yazidis (non-Muslims), and ISIS criminals, who are killing Yazidi men who do not convert to Islam. In one scene, a Yazidi young man is killed by an ISIS criminal and his money and Samsung smartphone are taken from his body. The smartphone rings. The ISIS criminal answers the call. It is the mother of the man he has just killed... Though the documentary is not easy to watch, you have to do so. You need to see this chaos and misery that is very much a part of the world you live in. (CHARLES MUDEDE)
SIFF Says:“There’s a war in my home country again.” That’s how documentary filmmaker Hogir Hirori begins his film The Girl Who Saved My Life. In 1991, at the age of 11, Hirori fled Saddam Hussein’s genocidal campaign in his native Kurdistan, eventually ending up in Sweden. Twenty-three years later, Hirori decides to return to northern Iraq to document the stories of other refugees of war; more than 1.4 million people are fleeing from the terror of the Islamic State. Upon his arrival, he is invited to join a helicopter transport to the Shingal Mountains, where hundreds of thousands of people are stranded without access to food or water, surrounded by IS forces. However, on his way to the helicopter, Hirori finds Souad, an 11-year-old girl in pain, lying alone on the ground in the scorching heat. He decides to stay and help her instead of going on the helicopter, a fateful decision that will shape both their lives. The Girl Who Saved My Life puts a human face to the stories in the headlines of the past year: men summarily executed, women forced into slavery, children kidnapped, and lives destroyed. But faced with these extraordinary circumstances, Hirori is no passive witness. Actively engaged in helping the people he encounters, he demonstrates—and documents—the difference the individual can make.
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