In 2003, the whole world watched, awestruck, as American forces overthrew the regime of Saddam Hussein. After 35 years of dictatorship and war, the Iraqi people dusted off their hopes for economic prosperity and a democratic nation. Unfortunately, despite their expectations of the “future Iraq,” citizens found themselves being hurled, once again, into disappointment and chagrin.
Kasim Abid, director of Life After the Fall, offers a thorough psychological portrait of the first four years after the fall of Baghdad. Because he interviews his own middle-class Iraqi family, they are uninhibited in front of the camera and allow Abid to document all aspects of their life and family interactions: celebrations, funerals, and employment.
The director takes a step beyond the gore and destruction of the Iraq war and focuses on the mental impact it has had on the country’s people. He covers issues such as abounding unemployment, religious tensions, political corruption, and terrorism, through the personal anecdotes of his extended family.
As the film progresses, so does the depth of the heartache and the desperation among Abid’s family members. Life After the Fall humanizes the people in the country that has been the subject of endless discussion and scrutiny in the media.
If your heartstrings are ready for a few yanks, take this cinematic voyage through Iraq as it hopscotches from one despotic rule to the next.
Head to the Cinémathèque québécoise on November 22 for a screening of Life After the Fall.